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J.A. Terry

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Happy Birthday Gran
By J.A. Terry
Friday, July 14, 2006

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The softness of her skin when I kissed her cheek, the scent that was like no other and belonged only to her; hands so small that I held in mine and the ridges on her pretty polished nails. A never-ending supply of popcicles in the deep freeze, fried chicken every Sunday and a kind and encouraging word no matter how ridiculous I looked in her high heels, mink stole, ruby lipstick and dangling earbobs.

The miles spent driving to nowhere in particular, but the fanciful feeling riding in the back of the Lincoln with all the buttons, lights and moon roof that I could push and play with as many times as I wanted; always whatever I wanted and never a discouraging word. The comfort and safety felt always in her presence, the happiness and love that was pure and unconditional.

I remember all these things and so much more and at times still reach for the phone to call, if for no other reason than to simply hear her voice…telling me, I love you honey, but she no longer has a number.

Today is her birthday, but in the midst of my personal crisis, emergency surgery, nursing my spouse, running his business, caring for child and neglecting myself, I simply forgot. But yesterday as I sat alone, in the uncomfortable presence of strangers, lost in a world of worry and wonder, I heard a familiar sound ringing through the hall; one I had heard a million times throughout my life and could identify sight unseen; my grandmothers heels clicking along the tile floor. Not spike heels, but the think, chunky heels of professional pumps worn to the attorney’s office on a daily basis, matching her outfit undoubtedly.

I looked up and smiled as the director of nursing came past in her polyester pink pantsuit, long gold chain dangling from her neck and matching pink pumps. I was suddenly transported out of my gloom and was given a ray of light in the form of my memories. Then today, as I sat alone in my home, for the first time in too many days to count, feeling my limbs like a dead weight and the pain and tension pounding at the base of my skull; I closed my eyes, sat with my head in my hands and tried to empty my mind of my troubles, and then I felt it. A brief touch, a reassuring and loving hand placed gently on my shoulder, meant to bring nothing but comfort from my torment. I knew in an instant who it was and I felt no fear…but still I did not remember.

Not until hours later when I talked to my mom on the phone and she said, “Do you know what today is?” My mind too numb to process the question, I simply said no and quickly let it go…until she said, “It’s Grandma’s birthday.”

I may have forgotten the significance of this day, but Grandma didn’t forget me.

       Web Site: Jill Terry, Author ׀ Poet ׀ Wordsmith Extraordinaire

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