Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)
TITLE: The Bench
By Paula Titus
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Christine was thirteen years old now and already longed for what once was. Her memories were pushed back once again when she heard her grandmother’s voice. “Dad, what are you doing?” Christine turned to see her grandmother headed toward her bedroom.
“Are you getting up Dad?” Margie, who always called her husband “dad” stood in the doorway of her bedroom and watched while her husband paced around his bed.
“There’s no plates on this truck.” Alonzo stated as a matter of fact.
“Dad, this isn’t your truck, it’s your bed – sit down here,” Margie patted the bed. “Do you want a cup of coffee?”
Christine watched the scene in bewilderment, not able to imagine how Grandpa could mistake his bed for a truck. However, she knew this sort of spectacle was just another spike in the coffin of her childhood memories.
“Grandma, why did he think it was a truck?”
“Well honey, he used to drive a truck for a living – he’s probably just dreaming about that.” Christine didn’t think Grandma disguised her apparent worry as well as she thought. Christine considered asking another question about Grandpa’s increasingly odd behavior. But she had been privy to enough of the adult conversations around the house to know whatever was causing Grandpa’s confusion; it wasn’t a normal thing, like a dream.
Christine left her Grandmother to begin making the coffee and stepped outside into the warm spring air. She walked to the old bench and sat down under the shade tree. The bench was wobbly now, and seemed much bigger when she was the only one sitting there. She looked toward the house and imagined what it was like only a few years ago, full of cousins, aunts, uncles, sitting around the kitchen table. Eating, talking, laughing, noises Christine longed to hear once again.
She knew Grandpa would probably never be able to sit with her again, here on the bench. No more stories or even the silence they shared, the silence of comfort, and contentment. Christine looked around the empty plot of land that once had a life of its own. All that was left were memories of a place were children ran and played in frivolity. Christine stood up, said goodbye to the bench, and goodbye to her childhood.
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