His elbow accidentally knocked the wine bottle. John stood motionless – unlike the bottle. He watched it wobble and fall to the floor. It was one of those occasions when every particle of time was played out in slow-motion. The bottle crashed onto the kitchen floor. His mother ran into the kitchen and stopped in horror as the splattered blood-red wine trickled towards her.
“What have you done! That bottle was especially for your grandfather. Seventy years ago…
It was all she managed to say before John pushed passed her. He ran up the stairs and into his room. He slammed the door shut and dived onto his bed, burying his face into the pillow. He did all he could to hold back the tears.
He knew all about the bottle of wine. His parents had told him over and over again. It was a special bottle. Seventy years old – the same age as his grandfather. They were all going to have a glass today and say a toast on his grandfather’s 70th birthday. Despite being only 14, John’s parents were going to let him drink a glass as well – that’s how special the day and the wine was.
“Don’t run about in the house!” How many times did they have to say that to him before he would listen? Never again, John promised. He had learnt his lesson.
He heard his dad’s car pull up outside. His dad had picked up his grandfather and brought him here for the celebration. They entered the house. John could hear all three of them mumbling. He was too far away to hear exactly what was being said. Then he heard footsteps approaching and a gentle knock on his bedroom door. John didn’t want to hear it.
“Can I come in?”
John had expected it to be his father.
“Come in, Grandpa”
As soon as John saw his grandfather, the tears began to trickle down his face.
“I’m sorry, Grandpa. It was an accident. ”
His grandfather sat set next him on the bed and put his arm around him.
“It’s ok. It was only a bottle of wine.” He smiled, brightly. “One day, I’ll tell you some of the crazy things I used to get up to when I was your age! Now come on. Give your grandpa a smile.”
John tried to smile.
“You can smash a hundred bottles of wine – a thousand! – but it won’t make me as sad as I am when I see one tear from my grandson.”
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