I’m feeling a little creative today and am in the mood to tackle something new and different. I searched for a prompt on Pinterest, and this is the one that struck my fancy. So, the way I see it, I will start my story with these words and see where it takes me. 500 words is my goal. Let’s see what happens…(I love this part of creativity…wherever will the story go?)
“This is my life now. I have climbed this hill, and now I will die upon it.”
“Shut up,” I said. “We’ve only been hiking for twenty minutes.”
I can talk to my grandmother like this because we have that sort of relationship. For the past several years, I have lived in her home following the demise of my own marriage and then sad divorce. Her home is pretty grand, and she’s done her best to keep up with it refusing to the leave the premises, a home where she has lived for past 50 years of her life. When my grandfather passed and I found myself single again, I volunteered to live with her. I won’t lie—my mother convinced me that this would be a good thing for both of us, and I can readily admit that she was right.
My grandmother is a spry thing at the age of 79. She walks with a cane by her side, but I’m certain it’s more of a tool of status rather than a tool of aid. She still has all her wits about her, especially her keen sense of humor that she can turn on like a faucet, which is quite often, actually. I stand adjacent to her watching her marvel at the landscape on this hill above her house on the sprawling grounds in upstate New York; she looks almost regal in her red and black plaid cape, her black, long leather gloves, her somewhat baggy blue jeans, and her rubber boots. Her short, silver hair blows gently in the wind, and she holds her hands up near her eyes to block the sun. She has a self-deprecating wit that marvels all the seniors at the Senior Center in town where she likes to hang out, play cards, and share her stories of life while also listening to the tales of others. Believe me, I’ve hung around this group enough to know they are all talkers. Even if folks sitting around them start to nod off, the best of the talkers just keep on talking. Their bodies may be old and withering, but their tongues—they are still sharp and nimble.
“You can’t pretend I’m going to live forever, you know,” she says to me, shouting because she’s hard of hearing.
“No one ever said that, Nana. None of us will live forever.”
“I think you think I’m always going to be around, saving your neck.”
I laugh. She always says this to make herself feel better. She knows I’ve been such a help to her, but this makes her feel good to say so.
“You’re right,” I say. “I will wither away with you when you go.”
“But what about Sal?” she says, looking at me, both hands on her cane.
“What about Sal? He’s not the guy for me. You know that.”
“No, I don’t. I know you are perfect for each other. You are afraid to live. You think if you live, I will die.”
“What the hell is all this talk about dying, Nana? All we did was go for a hike.”
“Yes, up this big frigging hill, and now I’m dying.”
“You’re not dying. You’re getting exercise.”
“Same thing to me, dear.”