Inquisitive: Part 3
By Hassan Izzo
Before I go any further, I feel I should clarify something and that something has to do with my childhood. You see, it was brilliant. I never wanted for anything. Mum and Dad loved me and I loved them. I never did what I did because I was a troubled child. I wasn’t trying to bring attention to myself and it certainly wasn’t a series of cries for help. Still, I wonder how much undue attention I brought on my parents from my inquisitiveness. After all, we knew everyone on first name terms down at A & E by the time I was ten. From what I can remember though, no one ever suspected anything untoward was going on at home. I guess they took one look at my parents and could plainly see there was no malevolent undercurrent to their personalities and that I was an amiable, happy child – after the event of course. Most of the time I was rushed in, I was delirious with pain, screaming worse than a banshee and on some occasions, bleeding profusely.
I am fully aware that I cannot under any circumstances claim to have been a normal child but then I suppose if everyone existed within the narrow band of what passes for normality, life would be pretty boring.
I was thirteen when my granddad died of cancer. I grew up with no memory of my grandmother for she had died when I was a baby, however my granddad was a constant presence in my childhood. I used to spend the shorter school holidays with him and at Christmas he would stay with us. As for the long summer holidays, they were spent with Kevin, working my way through all the inquisitive stuff I hadn’t yet got around to.
I never felt very inquisitive when I was with my grandfather. It was partly because I didn’t want to cause him any problems but it was also that his simple way of living – with his set routines for everything – rubbed off on me. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were always at the same time and there was never much variation in what we ate. There was tea and toast for breakfast, a fry up at lunch, and for dinner it was always some kind of stew as my grandfather would throw a whole bunch of vegetables into a pot with whatever meat we had and slow cooked it for a few hours. Inbetween meals he’d spend most of his time either reading the newspaper – which I would go and get in the morning after breakfast – or his Bible, which he would turn to after lunch. As for me, I’d usually settle into much of the same routine as my granddad, albeit reading books and comics rather than the newspaper or the Bible.
I remember the news not really registering when my mum told me that granddad had cancer and that he was coming to live with us; I should know it was very serious and that he didn’t have long left. We made up the spare room and I spent most days after school in his room on a chair by his bed. I could see that he was obviously very sick, but not much changed. He still spent his days reading his Bible not saying much, and I sat there either reading or doing homework.
The time came when we couldn’t properly look after granddad anymore and arrangements were made for him to move to a local hospice. It was two days before he was due to go and we were sitting as usual when I put my book down and watched him reading his Bible. I wondered how many times he’d read it over the years. As I watched him I felt the urge to ask a question that had been on my mind since I had found out that he had cancer. So far I hadn’t had the courage to ask but knowing that moving to a hospice meant there really wasn’t long left, I forced myself to.
“Are you scared of dying?”
Like any other writer, Hassan Antonio Izzo is happiest when he is sat at his desk putting words down on paper; whether it be updating his blog, working on a short story, script, poetry, journalism, or wrestling with his first novel. If anything stands a chance of getting him away from his desk, a few drinks with friends would stand a good one. His biggest claim to fame is that Quentin Tarantino loved his Mr T t-shirt when he met him; which was pretty cool.
A proud South Londoner, you can follow on Twitter @Hassanizzo86