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Archive for the tag “Grandfather”

Day 7:The picture

Day 7: Write a story with the words: tree, box, grandfather and toothpaste.

grandfather-granddaughter-walking-down-lane-sml

“And therefore I will love. Blind, boundless and never-ending. ”

 

He left me something. I don’t really understand why, I never knew him all too well. I don’t know why I consider it important. Why should I care about feelings never had, never transmitted, never known. It can’t matter now, so why should I care? I haven’t cared for 27 years of life. Then why do I care now? But I do.

I didn’t cry. I’m not a person who cries a lot. I don’t see the point. Why cry over something that is lost? Why cry over something that will never return? We walked inside wearing all black. Me and my mother. My little sister had never known him, she was too young. My father had never wanted to. There’s a lot of history between them. I don’t know why I came. Maybe to keep my mother company. She cried. I don’t know if she was sad. She never knew him well, none of us did, but as the music started she teared up. There were a few people I had never met, a few people whom I had heard stories about and a few people that I had met me when I was younger. I wonder if he knew them well. They told me that he had been distant and inapproachable. During the service I sat in the back, I held my mother’s hand. Through a sea of black suits, black veils and white tissue paper I could see the right shoulder of the priest. Just beyond the preacher’s stand I saw a glimpse of grey hair and the bright blue velvet upholstery inside the casket. He hated blue, I learnt that later.

I found it when we cleaned out the house. There was a musty scent throughout the house. Somehow everything there was mismatched. The sofa didn’t fit the table. The rocking chair was wine red, but the cushions were bright blue. The pattern on the table lamp suited horribly to the table. The paintings in the living room varied from expressionistic art to portraits of naked women dating to the baroque age. At first it looked like a horrible mess. I cleaned all of it. The dust wasn’t the worst part, but I found a rotten sandwich under one of the chairs. The style was awful; no one could have come up with it intentionally. The wheel of a bike was hung against a wall. I am still not quite sure if he intended it as a piece of art, or that he had forgotten to fix his bike and left it hanging to remind himself. Somehow every room was ugly, yet it felt like a home. It felt warm. I can’t figure out how my mind has formed a homey image of random collections of every sized garbage, yet I couldn’t shake the pattern on the table lamp and how beautifully red it was. I kept it. Everything felt warm, but I knew it to be lonely. There were no pictures. There was no need. He was never in pictures. The house felt warm, but the dust was a clear signal. He had died alone.

It took a full day to clean out the house. I had nearly skipped the last door, as it was hardly distinguishable from the wall. I found the key in the kitchen drawer and at first I wished I hadn’t. The attic was covered in spider’s webs. I found the remaining pieces of the bike as an answer to my question. I found a mountain of boxes with mostly nothing in them. I found a lot of things with little or no meaning to me, but I also found what I had never thought about. I found out who he was, as a person, as a husband, as a grandfather. Everything of his I found in a small box under the staircase. The box itself was the only wooden box in the attic. Small, yet precious. It had a carving on it of a bird with spread wings. The wood of the box had a reddish glow with a dark striped pattern. The key was already in its lock and I felt that I had found a treasure. I was right. Mostly I found out that he was a writer. I found stacks of letters, notes and scratch papers with vaguely formulated sentences. I found everything. Feelings, thoughts, adventures. My grandfather wasn’t a very organised man. He didn’t have one diary, but he just had his whole being stacked in this messy pile of papers. I found his deepest thoughts on a shopping list.

Shopping

  • Milk
  • Bread
  • Painting
  • Instant noodles
  • Happiness
  • My family back
  • Toothpaste

He wrote about the daily things, he wrote stories, poems and songs.

“James asked me today if I still cared. I told him to mind his own damn business. No way the town baker gets to know my thoughts. Of course I care. But I’m tired. I know that people think I’m distant. The truth is that I don’t know how to feel. I know that one time that I felt, and I felt everything. I felt the wind through my hair, I felt the rain on my skin. I felt every step I took, I felt air enter my lungs and leave again. I got tired of feeling, so I stopped. I felt everything when she left. The love of my life. Alongside my kids and their kids. Of course I care. I should really get to fixing my bike today. I might be old and alone, but I’m sure as hell not gonna be old, alone and fat. (2005)”

He had gotten fat later on.

“There is this dream I’ve been having. It’s nothing special, but it’s special in that way. There is a small house in the mountains that has my name on it. It’s a small wooden house near a lake. There are some trees, some plants and there’s a small waterhole nearby. I spend my days farming, making some music, staring at the sunset as I drink a cup of tea. Of course I’ll have a dog who keeps me company. I’d go on long walks in the surrounding nature and I’d pluck some flowers along the way. I’d collect them and keep them healthy until the next time my granddaughter comes to visit. She’d like them, I’m sure. That’s the life.”

I never went to visit. Should I have? When I found these notes I had started liking him more. Funny, since I had never known him well. I started reading and I kept reading. Before I realised it was morning. That’s when I found it. There was a picture of me. I hardly recognised myself as there were few baby pictures of me. In the picture a younger version of him was holding me. Grandma was right next to him. He tried to look in the camera, but he was clearly focused on me. His hands were wrapped around me as he tried to hold me steady. The wrinkles around his eyes were less deep, but he looked tired. The thing that struck me was his smile. I had never seen him smile. We never hugged. We were never close. Still, in this picture he held me so tight and his eyes. It looked like love. I have seen love in other eyes and this is what it looked like. It really made me wonder. If he had smiled like this at one time, if he had loved like this, where had it gone? Why was it gone? Why do I remember a distant man with little love, while here I saw someone who cared?

There was a note on the back of a picture. It was actually a letter. To me.

“Dear Emma,

One day, I promise. One day when you can walk and talk, we’ll walk and we’ll talk together. I’ll give you a bunch of flowers, and you’ll love to see their colours. I’ll give you a flower for every year. We’ll walk together in the forest. We can build a tree house together. We’ll talk about everything, you can tell me everything! One day, I promise, we’ll be best friends. You’re going to get a little sister, I just know it. We’ll run and play and have fun, just the three of us. I’ll get a dog and you can name him. Dear Emma please grow up quickly, because I am getting old. Please grow up before my legs won’t run and my hands won’t draw. As you grow up, know that I love you. Seize the day, live, laugh, love! If I’m not there, still know I love you. I will always love you. A flower for every year that I still love you.” 

I cried. Not because he broke his promise. Not because I never knew him. Not because he seemed to never care. I cried because he cared. He cared at one point in time, and that was enough. I don’t know why that matters, since the lost time cannot be gained. My tears were not of regret, knowing what I had lost. My tears were those of joy, realising what always been there. That moment of caring, that moment of love was worth more than all the years not knowing.

I continued cleaning. I found 27 flowers, dried up in a book. I stopped crying and I started smiling.

Day 20: Use these words in a story: grandfather, photo album, post office, and folder

New year’s eve

This is what he does every last day of the year, ever since his 18th new years eve. Some people go out to party and celebrate a new beginning. Others just want to be with their families at the dinner table enjoying the precious time they have together once every year. There are people who prefer to sit in the quiet of their homes with the sounds of the fireworks from feet or maybe miles away ringing in their ears. He was one of those people. He looked at the glass cookie jar in front of him and saw the little decorations. A crooked glossy chocolate chip cookie was on it’s way to the mouth of a little boy with grey eyes and 4 fingers on both his hands. One of his hands was bigger then the other and his eyes were perfectly round. It was clear that the little work of art was made by a child. The boy in the drawing had been him all those years ago. He smiled when he opened the jar and grabbed a cookie. It was home made. His mother always told him that the best cookies were made at home, with the heart of a loving mother. He chuckles as he remembered asking whether mommy’s heart was really inside the cookie. He took a bite and tasted the love that had made it delicious. A big bang from one of the fireworks close by echoed through the living room as the dog started whining and ran towards his trusted basket in the corner of the room. “Poor thing, he must be terrified.” He looked up over his left shoulder and saw where the voice was coming from. It belonged to a woman standing behind him. Her eyes had the same grey colour as his and they matched perfectly with her long grey hair. The wrinkles next to it betrayed her old age, but they also showed how much she had been laughing through the years. With one of her hands she touched his shoulder and in the other she was holding a thick, brown folder. After gently pinching his shoulder she smiled, walked around the couch and sat down next to him. She opened the folder and spread the pictures inside of it across the table. At least a hundred pictures with countless memories were showed in front of his eyes and the time had come to store them properly. He opened the drawer of the wooden table and took out a dark red photo album. He had chosen the album himself and purposely took a red one. Red was her colour and it was also his father’s colour. “We should watch the fireworks after this.” She said. He looked at his mother and smiled. “Of course we will, I know how you love them.” He took a handful of pictures in his hands and started looking through them. They weren’t arranged on date yet so all the memories came out of order. On the first picture he saw himself as a young boy. He wore a wide smile and in his hands he was holding a big red fire truck. Next to him his grandfather was squatting down, wearing a smile just as wide as his. It had been his 7th birthday and as always, his grandfather had spoiled him with gifts. He still remembered going to the restaurant with his family, having to dress up in a fancy suit for the occasion. When the arrived he was admiring the beauty of the building, the perfect work with decorations and the beautiful set up. A stunning waitress led them to their table and he tried to copy his fathers glances at her. After repeatedly glancing at her legs, exactly mimicking his fathers expression, he still couldn’t understand why the waitress’ legs were so different from his. He even walked up closer to her o stare for a while where after he asked his father loudly through the restaurant, “Daddy, why do you keep looking at her legs all the time? Are they more special then mom’s?” He chuckled as he remembered the blush on his father’s face and the annoyed way his mother shoved him after that. When they arrived at their seats in the furthest corner of the restaurant he saw his grandfather’s gift waiting for him on his chair. He smiled at the memories and stuck the picture in the photo album one by one. He looked at a picture of him standing in front of the post office with his uniform on. His first job. He remembered the hell he had to go through to deliver the mail every single day, no matter what the weather looked like and no matter how heavy the bags. He remembered swearing that he would never go through that again and never again after that month of delivery, did he touch the uniform of a mail man. He came across memories of his first day at high school, his graduation, his engagement and his marriage. His first child. A beautiful daughter. Suddenly he came across the picture of his 18th new year’s eve. He looked at his fathers smile. It was the last picture they had of that smile. He smiled back. That was a long time ago. A memory buried in the past. It was a very good memory though. After all these years he didn’t hold a grudge against death, as he knew it was inevitable. His mothers hands touched the hand he was holding the picture with. She smiled at him. “It’s almost twelve. We should go outside.” They stood up and walked towards the door holding each others arms close. The most spectacular and eye catching fireworks were sent up into the air and despite the cold air outside, he felt warm from the inside. With the new year he always felt the mixed feelings. He felt sad for all the memories that had gone, but not forgotten. The ones that could never be re-experienced. But he also felt happy, for the new memories to come. This is how he spent his new year’s eve. His house wasn’t filled with family and laughter. All those years ago he had decided that his new year would be opened with only his mother. That was what mattered, he and his mother together at every new beginning. The essence of his New Year.

 

Happy New Year everybody 😀 I have a lot of reasons to love the year that has gone by, but I’m also happy to make a new beginning again. I’ve been blessed so many times last year and this year I trust it will be even more! For this challenge I thought to stick to the time of the year a bit. With the given words I tried not to take the obvious way out again, but it still seems a bit standard 😛 But for a change, I don’t mind because I kinda like it ^^. Hope you did so too and again, the best wishes for 2013 😀

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