Beanery Online Literary Magazine

December 30, 2013

Little Em

Filed under: WR/BEANERYWRITERS — beanerywriters @ 3:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE

LITTLE EM

Janet Mantia

     Scents of orange and pine filled the house, but the lights on the tree never seemed as bright after Christmas. Looking at the popcorn garland Grandma helped me string, I felt a hard lump in my throat. It wasn’t long ago that I walked along the secret path, carved through mulberry bushes that led to her house. Thinking back to last summer, her bent figure made an odd shadow against the sun as she scattered bread for the birds over the cement walk.

“Cassie, I didn’t know you were coming today,” she said, wrapping her arms across my shoulders.  “Grandpa’s in the shed, building who knows what.”

I remember standing next to Grandma in her sturdy, brown shoes, print house dress, and silver hair wound into a braid around her head.   She stared at me with steel, blue eyes, and a face, though not beautiful, had strong features with high cheekbones and a pert Irish nose.

“Cassie, you’re only sixteen, but taller than I am.  You’re growing into a fine, young lady. Your mother would be proud of you.”

Grandma opened the screen door to the house Dad grew up in.  When I walked inside, the house had a scent of cut timber covering the planked walls, mingled with a scent of fresh jasmine coming through the screened windows. Walking across polished, wood floors, I sank into the sofa with a tufted back that went half way up the wall.  Doilies circled oak tables, and a fireplace which looked like the room had been built around it, covered an entire wall.

Grandma picked up her knitting from the rocking chair.  With fingers that moved in exact precision, she wound blue strands of yarn around the knitting needles.

“Your sweater will be done soon, Cassie.  I just have to add the sleeves,”  she said, pulling more yarn from a skein lying on the floor.

When I left Grandma’s house she was still knitting.  I kissed her cheek and said goodbye, but I left with a feeling I couldn’t explain.

*                                                 *                                            *

The sweater laid on the rocking chair next to skeins of unopened yarn.  Picking up the sweater which had no sleeves, I held it against my chest.  It would be a perfect vest, and Grandma’s voice, soft as velvet, would never (more…)

Advertisements