Inquisitive: Part 4
By Hassan Izzo
The question came out in a whisper. Granddad didn’t acknowledge the question at all and I wondered if he’d heard me. I didn’t want to ask again so I settled back into my chair and was about to continue reading my book when granddad closed the Bible, placed it on his chest, and turned his head to look at me.
Granddad terrified? Never! It was absolutely not the answer I was expecting. I had no idea how to follow up to such an unexpected response but it turned out my granddad had more to say. He held the Bible up in his hands.
“I’m comforted by the words in this though. I know things will be better on the other side, and I’ll get to see your grandma again.” He smiled, opened the Bible again, and continued reading.
I couldn’t help but think how irrational and delusional he sounded but then, should I be surprised by it? Granddad was a deeply religious man. If his faith brought him comfort then fair enough but as far as I was concerned, dead is dead. My granddad was looking at me again.
“The one thing I want to happen is that I die here, with my family. I don’t want to die in a hospice surrounded by strangers and nurses. I choose to die here, and it’s my choice to make.”
I remember thinking it was a weird choice of words but that same afternoon my granddad got his wish. He closed his eyes for his usual afternoon nap and never woke up again.
A couple of years passed by with no incident after my grandfather died. I was now fifteen and could be described as a ‘normal’ person, owing to the fact that I no longer had those inquisitive urges I once had. There was one though; one single urge that no matter what, I could never get rid of. It stemmed from my grandfather’s words on his deathbed about things being better on the other side and seeing grandma again. Even though I was in no way religious and thought it was all nonsense, I couldn’t dispute that it all came down to faith. Granddad was absolutely certain in his convictions of an afterlife and even though I was certain in my convictions that there wasn’t one, I couldn’t be 100% sure. In all honesty, it annoyed me that my granddad was privy to an answer that I wouldn’t be for many years and even then, it would be of no use to me in this life. Unless…
The next day I visited my grandfather’s grave. I looked at the ground beneath my feet, thinking about the coffin that contained my grandfather’s body. I looked up at the sky and tried to imagine a place outside of this where you could exist after you died. It was a useless thought to exercise; I didn’t have the imagination to create anything vivid – I was too rooted in my scepticism of such things. That, and I was a person of action; it was part of my nature. I couldn’t reconcile the fact that it all came down to faith, something I couldn’t quantify. If there was something beyond this, no matter how remote the possibility, then I wanted to glimpse it, experience it, and feel it. Standing there, turning all of this over in my mind, I realised the truth – the inquisitive part of me had lay dormant for so long because it needed a new avenue: something big, something huge, something that was a real test of inquisitiveness. I had to know what – if anything – lay on the other side.
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