I remember when a visit to grandma's house was the highlight of my entire year. I lived for those warm December holidays, spread out flat across the seaweed colored veranda, rolling shirtless, braless, breastless, over the chips of weathered paint as they stuck onto my clammy skin, sipping on cheap sachets of cola flavoured ready-mix juice and stuffing my mouth with even cheaper cookies from the small shop around the corner. It was a humble, but blissful life. My two cousins and I were the equivalent of a full blown house party. Our immature voices brought the old house to life, while the thumping echoes of our tiny bare feet ran between the creaking floors, up my grandmother's spine, through her ears and into a headache! We were often chased out of the house to play outside instead, but we didn't mind, outside is where we wanted to be anyway! With Sophie and Max and Jack, with Zacharia and Yvonne and the other girl with the short hair whose name I always managed to forget...and with Brian, can't forget Brian. Brian with the nice eyes and the soft curls, with the neon green soccer boots and the shy smile, Brian who lived five houses down the road who could swing higher than any other boy in the neighborhood. Brian who was the only other boy, apart from my cousin, who was allowed into our treehouse after grandad built it from leftover wood he got from work. Brian who shared his stolen candy with me in the darkest corner of the treehouse, right behind the small blue cupboard with a broken handle. Brian who pulled my hair when I refused to share my crayons with him. Brian who apologised the following day for pulling my hair and bought me a colorful candy necklace. Brian who, on the last day of the last holiday I spent at my grandmother's house, kissed me on the lips, gave me a purple plastic ring, told me I'm his girlfriend, then ran away....can't forget Brian - and I never did.
I was young, and life was a sugar rush - sweet and high. Nothing could bring me down and everyday was a pony ride over the rainbow. But every sugar rush dies down, and so did mine. My cousins and I had just graduated to young adults and a visit to grandma's house wasn't cool anymore. The years passed and we all changed. We discovered better things like marijuana and alcohol. We barely saw each other, let alone grandma, whom we only saw on birthdays, Christmas or when she was sick, and even when we were together, we never laughed as hard as we used to or filled the house with our now mature voices. The floors no longer echoed, just creaked, and the lively house was now more dead than ever before. All the kids with whom we shared our sunny days were all grown up and we had somehow become strangers. Yvonne and Sophie stayed friends, they were thought to have left town to attend better universities, but we later found out they were lying. They had dropped out months later and were living off their parents money in the big city. Max works in a supermarket - and hates it, Jack in a retail store, he dyed his hair blonde and pierced his nose - it suits him. Rumour has it Zacharia became a criminal and ended up in jail. And the girl with the short hair whose name I never manage to remember has two kids, she never finished high school and spends her days tending to her children and sitting in the sun. My one cousin is an aspiring model with a boyfriend her mother doesn't like, and my other cousin does a bit of this, a bit of that, starts something but never really follows it through, he just tries to stay alive. Oh...and Brian...can't forget Brian. I was told that his father's business was losing out to new competition and they were forced to sell the house. No one ever saw him again...
And me? Well, some might call me a rebel, others an artist. I write, I draw, I sing, I do everything a parent would never advise their child to do, I'm covered in tattoos, some of which my mom has seen, some of which she hasn't - and never will. But right now, this very minute, I decided to give grandma a visit, it's not an occasion or a birthday and thank the stars she isn't sick, but it's long overdue. I baked her some muffins - she loves muffins - with some tea. She's watching her favorite Spanish soap opera right now so I have a few minutes to kill. I take a walk around the yard and come across, would you believe it, the old treehouse that grandad built. No longer in a tree, but rather perched on the ground besides it, with the branch it rested on, crushed beneath it, and the ladder in two. Struggling to pry open the caved in door, I'm greeted by a cloud of thick dust and cobwebs as it flings open. Everything is exactly as we left it all that time ago. I strategically manoeuvre my body in, crouching, trying not to get my clothes dirty.
The small blue cupboard in the corner, now barely blue, has an empty nest in it, spewing out a dense gathering of pigeon feathers that carpets what's left of the floor, the pictures on the walls have bleached in the sunlight, and the wooden table with the small matching chairs we helped grandad paint - all broken….almost as broken I am. Broken to see wood chips in our dreams and holes in our stories. Our memories reduced to firewood. I grab an old stained cushion to sit on. And I sit…and I sit some more. Absorbed in my childhood and my tears, mourning the passing of a piece of my life, before the magic had died, before the songs made no sense, before the colours were too bright, before summer at grandma's wasn't cool, and long before candy necklaces and purple plastic rings weren't good enough.
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I loved your story. You painted it well with the carefree abandonment of childhood and the forgetting to be carefree as everyone grew up. Keep up the good work
Your feedback means a great deal to me and I'm reeeally glad you enjoyed the read. Thank you:)
this was such a beautiful story! you did an amazing job with your imagery and descriptions, and you seemed to really capture the feelings of youth and summery days within your writing! i especially loved these last few lines: 'Absorbed in my childhood and my tears, mourning the passing of a piece of my life, before the magic had died, before the songs made no sense, before the colours were too bright, before summer at grandma's wasn't cool, and long before candy necklaces and purple plastic rings weren't good enough.' excellent job! :D
Thank you so much! That really means a lot:)