Wednesday, 13 January 2657
Mum called me Sunday to tell me Great Grams Hazel had collapsed and was in the hospital. Mum was distraught. Hazel was Mum’s grandmother on her dad’s side and they had always been close. Mum wanted--needed--her son. All she had was me, the man the Institute of Time Travel had created. I didn’t know if I could be much comfort to her, but I was determined to try.
Grams Hazel is 215. By the natural aging index, she would be in her late 80’s, early 90’s. Modern medicine and genetic engineering has slowed the aging process down. It seems to slow more the older we get. Until we reach adulthood, we age at a natural rate. Just as well. Who would want to live through fourteen years of puberty? We have inadvertently created a society where the elderly outnumber the young. It always amazes me of the number of children in the Victorian age and how many are unwanted. For us children are like rare jewels to be treasured.
I have told you last blog how awkward family gathering were for me. At least Dad’s side of the family has a strong tradition of history professors. I might make them uncomfortable, but they tolerate me because I’m a history researcher and they grudgingly respect that.
Mum’s side of the family is another matter all together. They do not approve of me at all. When I came into the hospital waiting room I heard the whispers. “What is that freak doing here?” She’s my great grandmother, too. I stayed out of their way, in the corner. I was going to be there for Mum.
Relatives faded in and out. Mum however was pretty well camped out in the waiting room. Dad had a bug he didn’t want to pass around, so he couldn’t be there for Mum. I stayed with her as much as I could, putting my life on hold.
Last night when everyone went to dinner, Mum came over to me. “Thank you, Wendell.”
“It’s quite all right, Mother. It is my duty, as a son and great grandson, to be here to give what moral support I can.”
Mum sort of stared at me a moment. “MY Wendell would have just hugged me and said ‘Oi, no problem, Mum.’ You used to be so laid back and affectionate and funny. Damn Institute took my Wendell away and left this stuffy Victorian in his place.”
“I do apologize for putting you through any sort of anxiety. That was never my intention.”
“I know that. I also know it wasn’t easy for you to be here today. Everyone is mad at you for what you’ve become and none of them try to hide it. MY Wendell was a kind, considerate and caring person--and so are you. You are a good person, whoever you are. It was hard enough to lose my boy, and have some stranger take his place. It would have killed me if the Institute had stuck some git in his body.”
“Instead they stuck a twit in it, eh?”
Mum laughed at that. “All right, so they didn’t completely destroy your sense of humour.” She patted my cheek. “I’d give you a big hug and kiss, but I know that sort of thing makes you uncomfortable now.”
“Feel free to do it anyway. I only look uncomfortable.”