Grandpa Joe walked steadily a few feet more before holding on to the wooden
frame around the patio steps. Breathing heavily, he called out for Christabelle
to get him his walking cane. As he sat on the swing, he noticed the rose bushes
had not been trimmed and the steps leading up to the house was unsightly with
grime and muddy shoe stains.
Christabelle looked at her grandfather shaking
his head and mumbling to himself. She went forward and stood beside him at the
swing. From her pouch, she took out a camera that seemed a decade old. She had
found it in the garage and her mother had surprised her by saying she could have
it. She was not sure if Grandpa might like it.
Grandpa took one glance at it and turned his head in the direction of the
garage. "Ma gave that to you?" he asked. Christabelle nodded and then put the
instrument back inside her pouch. "I'll return it to the box where I found it.
Are you upset?" she asked him back. He shook his head and asked to look at the
camera again. The Rikon was an FM 10, he explained. It was his lucky camera that
lasted him his entire career.
Being a photojournalist was his dream. As a fresh graduate, he joined the
news agency in Britain. He was soon sent to Malaya to cover WWII and that was
where he met Grandma. At that time, he explained, Singapore and Malaysia were
part of Malaya. He kept running his fingers over the camera's body as he
recollected his story to Christabelle.
Photojournalism was a lonely profession. Much time spent away from home was
part of the deal. However, Grandpa made most of it by meeting new people and
improving his photography skills. He learnt a lot about himself and Grandma
during these separations. Grandma was very understanding and never stood between
him and his first love. She tried to cope with the demands of running a house
and family alone. She worked part-time at the local library in the evenings to
help make ends meet.
When Grandpa got home after arduous months of shoots, she would welcome him
with loving tears in her eyes. Those early days, they cherished whatever little
time they spent in each others' company.
Christabelle coughed suddenly, interrupting Grandpa's thoughts. He stopped
talking and passed the camera back to her. He gazed at the rocking chair that
Grandma had once treasured. It was a gift from him, one that she had longed for
while she was pregnant with Christabelle's mother. He had it crafted and
imported from Indonesia just for her. Turning his attention away, he continued,
"It's of no use to me now. You can have it."