Welcome to a brand new feature on TCR’s blog, Then and Now, a series in which writers reveal and dissect the early literary attempts that helped form their current work. This week, David L. Ulin takes a look back at his story, “The Bed.”
by David L. Ulin
Annie’s grandfather died on a Sunday in summer. My vacation had just begun. At work on Friday, his heart became irregular, and he was gone within forty-eight hours. I watched Annie buckle over the phone, saw her face pale and her red hair fall into disarray. She went home to San Diego that night.
And Monday was my grandfather’s birthday. I met my parents, and together we went to pay our respects.
I should say I’d been thinking about Annie since she left, but that’s not really true. More about her grandfather, and mine. In my grandparent’s apartment, he lay in another room, and we sat on a couch, listening through the wall for his snores.
My grandmother offered drinks and asked about my brother.
“He’s okay,” my father said, not looking up from a large paperback book of color photographs.
My mother smiled from her end of the sofa. “His classes just started.”
“So I heard,” her mother said.
My father coughed and lit a cigarette.
“No one comes to visit anymore,” my grandmother said. In the other room, her husband snored.