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I Like this Grandma better than the old One

Why would you say that?
You shouldn't even think that.
Look at me.
Son, listen to me.
Your grandmother. She was very, very sick. Normal medicines didn't help. Not enough. That's why the doctors did what they did. The disease was happy inside her old body, so they changed her body until the sickness couldn't feed and grow anymore. Of course you can't understand. Nobody expects that. But believe me, it was amazing to see. That sweet old lady in the hospital bed and her family gathered around, everybody thinking she would die....
Yes, people were praying.
Aunt Charlene. She was leading the prayers. Yes, all right. You were paying attention. Good.
But you were in school the next morning. When we found your grandmother sitting up in bed, feeling comfortable. Eating.
Don't say that word.
Don't say "miracle."
I love your aunt. Of course I love Charlene. But she uses that word too much and too loudly, I think.
But yes, it was wonderful. Amazing to see. Even the doctors were surprised by how much better she got, and how fast.
And the food.
Your grandmother has always been a picky eater. But her body was very thin, and there were cancer cells to kill. So yes, she's different now in that way. She eats more, which isn't a bad thing.
Of course everybody was happy that she got well.
I'm as glad as anybody.
Who said that?
Uncle Kevin?
Well, just so you know. My brother, who I love dearly, has some very bad attitudes about people.
But honey, now look at me.
Listen to me.
This is what I wanted to tell you:
Your Grandma does look different now. A little bit. And I know, you think she looks neat.
But you can't talk that way. Okay?
Because it's rude, that's why.
Because she's the very same person she always was. And we don't need to mention how she acts, either. She's been through a lot, and let's just be happy that she's still with us.
I'm glad you think she's fun.
Because. What happened, what I think happened, is that when the doctors changed her body, they changed her mind too. The cure got inside her brain, and that's why she acts as she does. We have to be understanding. Regardless of what she says or does. We need to be happy that she survived and is still with us, still alive, in whatever form that happens to be.
Is that what you think?
Well, that's a very interesting idea, kid.
And now Uncle Kev is going to tell you why you like her so much now.
People. Us. We are animals. People always have been. We pretend to be otherwise but it doesn't mean shit.
Let me tell it this way. There's this monkey. The monkey is running along a tree branch. It's dark in the jungle and he can't see far but he comes across another monkey. And you know what he has to do? Figure out if he knows this other monkey. Is it a man or woman? Do they belong to the same tribe? Are they friends or enemies? Are they related, and is that a good thing? Does our monkey owe the other guy fifty bucks? Or does the second monkey have debts that need to be settled?
See what I mean?
People are monkeys.
Walk into a strange place, and what do you do first? You look at faces. You see who you know and who you don't know. And you have to decide who is like you and who's different.
Make all the noise you want about being good and trusting. Tell the world you don't care about color or religion or sex. Nobody's that way. We see race, we see wealth. We weigh everybody's importance. And young men are supposed to be scarier than old women. That's the truth of the universe.
Which you need to think about when I tell you the rest:
Inside us, there are these things. They're called genes. Your genes tell your body where everything needs to be and how to grow and stay alive. And your grandmother's doctors saved her by going inside her with little knives and giving her fresh pieces of new genes.
Unlike some members of our family, I was paying attention to what the experts were telling us.
Some of the new genes were pulled from people. But not most of them. Some animals have better immune systems than we do. Some animals almost never have cancer. Plus there are genes that didn't even exist last year. And all of those new bits and clumps got shoved inside a woman who couldn't have told you the day of the week, she was that sick.
As far as I'm concerned, that woman died.
And what we have left now is something else. Is different.
Not just a different monkey now. But some other kind of beast entirely. And that's why you like her so much.
You're a kid.
You like new animals.
I'm glad you think that.
Oh, I am, yes.
But make no mistake, little man. What happened to your grandmother, my dear mother, was a miracle. Doctors can claim they did it. But I saw their faces, heard it in their words and between the words. People get quiet when they feel the Hand of God. That's how you know a miracle when you see it.
How many miracles have I seen?
Many, many. In my life, I've been lucky enough to witness more miracles than I can count.
I wasn't much older than you when I learned about my gift. I could reach God whenever I wished. And when I reached, I wished for strength, for wisdom. For salvation to the wicked and health for the suffering. Not all of my prayers came true, but enough have. And I certainly know what God's hand feels like, passing through when it does.
Really? She said that?
Well, I guess that shouldn't be a surprise. If my sister was half as smart as she thinks she is_
Anyway, I'm glad that you like your grandmother. But I wanted to tell you. All things considered, I wish that maybe I hadn't prayed so hard. Or so well. A little less miracle and a little less fur. Although I won't change what she is now, so don't you worry.
I hear what you've been telling people, honey.
No, I'm glad you like me better now.
That makes two of us.
But do you want to hear a secret?
Not that much has changed. Besides the fur on the outside and all this energy inside me. Remember that old lady sitting all the time? Well, I can't imagine sitting anymore. But that's only because the doctors changed my body. The cancer and the cure never touched this brain. I don't care what others tell you. I don't give a shit what they tell themselves. Maybe I'm acting different today, but it's the same damned brain doing the acting.
So you like my pelt, do you?
Oh, yeah. You can call it "fur" if you want.
And while we're being honest, here's another secret.
Getting the cure, I could feel my body changing. Everything was shifting, and I closed my eyes and made wishes. Trying to guide things along. I wanted to be strong again. I wanted to be more beautiful than ever. For instance, all my life I wanted to be a pretty blonde. I wanted this exact color of hair. Maybe not growing everywhere on my body, of course. Just on my head and you-know-where would have been nice.
And do you know why I wanted that?
No, not so that you'd like me, no.
It's because when she was young, your grandma knew the boys at school would like her more if she grew something gold to run their fingers through.
The End
This story was first published on Friday, March 18th, 2016

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