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 Fleeting Memories

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Posts : 554
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 62

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PostSubject: Fleeting Memories   Fleeting Memories EmptyTue Sep 23, 2014 10:20 am

Fleeting Memories

She watched the sky lighten as the sun rose.  Turning, her dimming eyesight settled on the suitcases, neatly packed, waiting for her.

She sighed remembering that today was the day she would be leaving this home – her home – forever.  From now on she would be living at The Home, her last home.  How long would she remember this, her home – the home she had lived in so long, been happy in, raised a family in?

Today she would be leaving this house.  How long would she remember it?  Memory played tricks at her age.  She had fought it, hiding the terror from her children.  There was that time she couldn’t remember her way home from the corner store.  It had taken several hours, but she had made it home – here.  No need for her son David and what’s her name . . .  oh, yes, Nancy, David’s wife.  No reason for David and Nancy to know.  She’d come home.

Nevertheless, somehow they knew.  David had been pressuring her for some time – she couldn’t remember how long – anyway, David had been pressuring her to move to The Home.  Always she had resisted.  Her memories, precious memories, were tied to this house.  The Home held no memories for her.  It was a stranger to her.  But still . . .  she shivered remembering . . .  The day had come when this home, her home, had become a stranger too – the day she couldn’t remember how to get from the kitchen to her bedroom here.  Then, finally, she had agreed to move to The Home.

But that was the only time, wasn’t it?  She just couldn’t remember.  She sighed again.

She looked around, her eyes pausing to linger, remembering.  She saw the wooden object on her dresser.  She picked it up and carried it carefully to the side table.  Settling in the armchair, she reached over.  She sat running her hands over the smooth sides, absorbing the feel and look of the dark wood she knew so well.  The morning sun showed the wear, but still it held strong and complete.  She glanced at the peg so warped with age it no longer fit smoothly into its slot.  Her fingers lingered on the dent where it had been dropped, her young son’s hands too little to hold it properly.

Thinking back she could picture her own grandpa carving it just for her.  Wheelchair-bound, his legs and back riddled with arthritis, -- too many days horseback, too many nights on hard, cold ground, he’d explained -- still she had loved to visit.  And he had loved her visits.  She could see his hands working the wood, turning the lathe, smoothing the sides.  Even as his legs and back betrayed him, cramping and twisting, his hands remained straight and strong.  That’s what she remembered best, the hands – gunfighter’s hands he told her.  With those well-cared for hands, he had created this cunning toy for her.

Although she tried, her hands had betrayed her; now they were swollen and twisted with arthritis.  She did not have gunfighter’s hands.  Gritting her teeth, she pried at the pegs, carefully laying them to the side.  She removed the pieces she had freed – always the same:  two chairs, two cunning bench boxes with lids that opened, then turn the three-sided case over making a table to match.  

She looked around startled.  Dust motes danced in the noon sun shining through the window.  She went to the kitchen for a sandwich.  Coming back, plate in hand, she looked around the room – the bed neatly made, her suitcases packed.  Sighing slightly she resumed her place at the table, taking a bite as she took a last look at the place she’d called home for so long.  A smile came as she saw her toy laid out so neatly:  the two pegs to one side, the two chairs pulled up to the table, and the box benches arranged neatly at each end.  She could see her own grandpa carving this for her.  How she had loved to visit him and he’d loved those visits.  But he was gone now, long gone – so many had gone before her.

She focused carefully fitting the pieces back together.  With grim determination she forced her unwilling hand to insert the warped peg.

“Mom, mom!”  She smiled as David bustled into the room.  He looked so much like her grandpa - his pale hair beginning to whiten, the blue eyes slightly clouded, the winning smile undiminished.  “Mom, we’re all here.  Nancy’s backing up the car, and Sarah and Joshua came,too.”  He looked anxiously at her.  “You do remember who Sarah and Joshua are, don’t you?”

“Of course I do.  How could I forget my grandchildren?  What a pleasant surprise, all of you here.”

David frowned and opened his mouth, but was interrupted by the entry of three others.  “Granma,” the young ones shouted.  Her face lit up.  So nice of the children to come.  They rushed to hug her gently, careful to avoid squeezing the frail shoulders too tightly.

“Mom, we need to get going.  Now, you remember where we’re going, right?”

“Oh Mama Carter, you remember the place.  You liked it when we visited and the staff was so nice.”  The graying woman stood by her chair glancing not at her but at the table beside her.  Her fingers swooped down on the stale sandwich.  “Look at this, you’ve only had two bites.  Is this all you had for lunch today?  It’s been hours.”

“Don’t fuss, I’m fine.  Of course I remember, Nancy.  Now where are my things?”

“We’ve got them, Mama,” David replied, handing the suitcases to his son.

As she moved her hands to the arms of her chair to help her rise, the wooden toy fell from her lap.  The peg that had not been inserted properly flew out and the pieces fell apart.  “Oh, oh, no.”  Her hands fluttered in distress and she began to bend down.

Sarah darted forward.  Her young knees bending with no effort.  “Don’t worry, Granma, I’ve got it.  Do you want to take this with you to your new home?”  She deftly fitted the pieces together and inserted the peg without effort.  She stood holding it out to her grandmother.

“Thank you, dear.  Yes.”  She caressed the sides.  “Did I ever tell you my own grandpa made this for me?”

Last edited by riders57 on Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:17 am; edited 1 time in total
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Posts : 811
Join date : 2013-09-08
Age : 63
Location : Seattle

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PostSubject: Re: Fleeting Memories   Fleeting Memories EmptyTue Sep 23, 2014 10:46 pm

Riders, this is such a touching story, it brought tears to my eyes. You communicated so clearly her very real pain at leaving everything that was familiar to her, as well as her lapses in memory, and her attempt to put off the inevitable by hiding her confusion from her family. I wonder if she knew who her grandfather was, and why he said he had gunfighter's hands. Did he keep his past from his family? I don't know, but it's nice to think of him eventually having a family and enjoying his grandchildren. Thanks for sharing this very moving piece.

"If I asked for a cup of coffee, someone would search for the double meaning." Mae West
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