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By W.M.

Age Group: High School

I feel bad for feeling bad for my grandmother. I wish my grandfather had liked fish, because that would make me miss him.

My birth month is July. When my grandparents came to visit me for my birthday in 2019, I wanted to take them to my favorite restaurant, a seafood place in Portland. Although I always ordered the exact same meal, I thought it was the best restaurant in the whole state.

“Do you want to go to that seafood restaurant for your birthday dinner again?” My mom asked me around two weeks before the 20th of July.

“Yes! Please?” I replied. I was always in the mood for that restaurant’s salmon and Thai iced tea. My parents continually tried to convince me to order something new, but I was never persuaded. To be honest, I only really liked the salmon and Thai iced tea that much. Even so, it was still my favorite restaurant.

A few days before my birthday, my dad got into a fight with my grandfather. My dad and I disagreed with my grandfather on politics and social issues, and my grandfather valued the opinions of underqualified Facebook users over those of his own son. He didn’t really care that the politicians he supported would hate my grandmother if they ever met her.

When I was little, I always said that he and my grandmother were my favorite out of my two sets of grandparents: My grandmother is kind and caring and makes me laugh. And my grandfather was funny. Sometimes. To be honest, I only really liked that part of him. Despite any imperfections, they were still my favorite grandparents. 

At my birthday dinner, I ordered salmon and Thai iced tea, and it tasted as delicious as always. Everyone liked the restaurant, except my grandfather. He hated fish, which always surprised me since he lived with my grandmother; she makes the best fish.

My 2019 birthday dinner was the last time I went to my favorite restaurant, and also the last time I saw my grandfather. The seafood restaurant closed last year, and my grandfather died.

In August, I visited my grandmother for my grandfather’s funeral. While she was cooking tuna, she laughed, saying “You think it smells so bad!”

I looked up from the book I was reading, confused. “I never said that.”

“It’s okay, you can say it,” my grandmother said with a wide grin.

“No, I don’t think that,” I said, a bit annoyed at the way she was sticking words in my mouth.

“Well, your grandpa always said it smelled!” she laughed, “He’d say ‘go outside if you’re going to eat that, it smells disgusting. I’m trying to watch TV.’”

My grandmother laughed fondly at the memory. The way she repeated my grandfather’s words made my heart sink. I don’t think it was very funny of him to say that. 

I wish my grandfather had liked fish. I wish he had tried to like it. I wish he’d tried to learn about my grandmother’s culture instead of telling her it smelled, and I wish he had pronounced my grandmother’s name correctly at least once.

I feel bad for my grandmother remembering all that. But if she’s not upset about it, maybe I shouldn’t be either. So now, I feel bad for feeling bad for her.

I’m sad that my grandfather is dead. He made me laugh a lot, but I don’t think that’s enough to make me miss him. I don’t think he would have liked me very much if I wasn’t his granddaughter. I don’t think I would miss him if he wasn’t my grandfather. 

I’m sad that my favorite restaurant is closed. I miss eating their salmon and drinking their Thai iced tea, but it’s kind of stupid to miss a restaruant I only liked one meal from.

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