See loved her grandfather. She was four and he had taught her to read long ago, “long” for a four year-old. Through her days, she would sit against the wall, reading whatever it was: sometimes she asked her grandfather to pick a book for her, but more often than not, she chose something from the bottom shelves so she would not have to bother him.

See’s grandfather watched television and lived a very regular life. He woke, See woke, they ate breakfast. He read the paper after their dishes were in the sink and See had hopped down from the stool and begun her book. At eleven he made lunch, and at twelve, he and See ate together, him from a big bowl, See from a smaller bowl. See’s grandfather usually went out for a walk and returned for a nap; at five he made dinner, and at six, they ate together. Afterwards, grandfather usually went to bed before See, and because she always woke at the same time, grandfather did not need to mind her bedtime.

See loved her grandfather. He was as capable in every way: he sometimes drove her to appointments and greeted the secretary with good charm; he could go to the store and make the clerk happy; he could do all these things, but didn’t do them more often than needed to. The town was mundane. Watching the news gave him sense of the big world, and walking gave him sense of the little things.

One day, grandfather came back from his walk and found See in her usual place.

“See, guess what I saw today? There was a big bowl of fruit spilled by the side of the bridge. It is so very beautiful. I think I am going to take a picture of it every day when I walk by it.”

See smiled at this. She liked grandfather’s pictures. She smiled, and returned to her book.

Every day afterwards, grandfather came back from his walks and showed See the picture he took on his camera. See looked at the fruits, smiled, and returned to her book. She liked the pictures, and she liked that she could ask grandfather to pick out a new book for her at these times.

One day, See did not want to go to sleep, and so she sat along her wall later than usual. In fact, the sun had set long ago, hours past end of summer’s long day. The dishes were in the sink, and the paper was folded neatly in the pile by the television.

From the hallway, grandfather appeared.

“Grandpa, where are you going?”

“To take picture of the fruit, See.” She nodded, smiled, and returned to her book. Soon she went to bed, to her usual dreamless sleep. She awaited grandfather’s return so she could see his new picture and ask him to pick out another book.

But grandfather never came back. No — there was no warm breakfast the next morning, only a note from her mother, milk and a granola bar, and a promise to be back at lunch.

See ate the granola bar and drank the milk. She came down from her stool and sat in her usual place along the wall.

And from that day on, See read no more.

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