Contest #186 shortlist ⭐️


Creative Nonfiction

Where are we, Jack? 

In my house. I bought it last year.

What do you mean your house? 

Yeah! I bought a house last year.

But, you’re still in college, Jack. Aren’t you?

I went to college, but I got out a few years ago. I’ve been working up north, and living in apartments up there for a few years. But I thought I’d buy a house down here now. 


It’s cute, right? Little, and right down the road from Lisa and Adam.

Lisa and Adam? Where are Lisa and Adam? 

They’re just a few houses down. They live right next door to each other, and I’m just here, up the block.

You are? 

Yup! It’s nice having my own place and not renting.

What do you mean, renting? Aren’t you staying with Mommy and Daddy?

Nope, not anymore. I stayed with Mom and Dad for a little while after college, but then I moved out to work far away.

How far? 

About an hour and a half north.

An hour and a half?!

Yeah, it’s a pretty far drive, but I like this better. 

An hour and a half from college? 

Nope, an hour and a half from here. 

Where are we, Jack? 

We’re in my house, Nana.

Your house? You mean Mom and Dad’s house? This doesn’t look like Mom and Dad’s house.

Oh, no, Nana, we are in my house. I’m showing you my new house. 

Your house? 

Yup! This is my house. I bought it.

But you’re still in college aren’t you?

Nope, I’m out of college. I started working and then I bought this house. 


I love this little place. Isn’t it cute? 

You aren’t going to college anymore? 

No, Nana, I graduated. 

Oh. What about Marie? 

Yup, she graduated, too. She lives in Pennsylvania now. 

Pennsylvania? What is she doing way out there?

She lives out there now. With her husband. 

Whose husband? 

Marie and I graduated from college, and we both have our own houses now. 

You’re not staying at Mommy’s?

Nope. I did for a little, and then I moved out. I live here now. 

Here? Where are we, Jack?

We’re in my house, Nana. 


Did you see this People Magazine? They have a feature on Jackie O.

Oh, I love Jackie O. Jackie O and Princess Diana. I love them so much. 

I know! Here she is in her white Chanel.

Oh, she had the most beautiful clothes. I could look at her clothes all day. 

Do you remember going to the city to see her clothes? At the Met? The museum? 

Who? Jackie O? No, I never saw her clothes. She is so beautiful.

We went, all of us, you, me, Mom, Marie, Lisa, Ethel.

Where’d we go?

We went to New York City and saw an exhibit of Jackie O’s clothes.

Oh, I didn’t go. That must have been nice!

It was nice. 

I don’t like the city much. I’ve only been a couple of times. 

When have you gone to the city?

Grandad and I went once. He drove us all the way in and we went to a fancy dinner and stayed one night in a hotel. 

Just one night?

Yes, just one night. We were supposed to keep going up to Niagara Falls for our honeymoon, but I was so homesick already I wanted to go back home, so he took me back. 

That was your honeymoon? Just a night in New York City?

That’s all we needed, Jack. It was such a nice time.

Well, I love a fancy dinner. 

Grandad was so mad at me! 

Haha I bet he wanted his honeymoon!

He complained the whole way home! ‘I paid for four nights and we didn’t event get to check in! Ra ra ra!’ haha! But I just couldn’t leave home for that long.

And you never wanted to try going on a honeymoon again?

Nah, that was plenty. Plus then I had my kids and Grandad had work. 

And you were just happy to be at home?

I loved being home. 

I can understand that. 

Oh what’s this? Oh, Jackie O, isn’t she so beautiful? She’s got the most elegant clothes.

Yes! She is. I got this magazine for you, if you want to take it with you. 

For me?

Yes, I know you love Jackie O.

Oh, I do, Jacks, thank you. 


Oh, this is for me? 

Yes, I saw it and thought you’d like it.

Oh, no, it’s yours, you keep it. 

Haha, no, it’s for you!

Oh let me give you some money.

Oh no, Nana, don’t be silly. It’s for you. 

Oh, don’t you just love Jackie O?

She’s really lovely. 

Did I bring this with me? 

Yup! Thank you for showing me.

Showing you what?

I love Jackie O’s style.

Oh, isn’t she so stylish.

She is.

Where are we, Jack?

Oh, we’re just in my house. 

Your house? 

Yes, this is my house. 

Aren’t you in college? 

I’m done. I got this house after I graduated. 

Your house?


Where are we?

We’re just in Waretown, Nana.

Waretown? What are we doing here? 

Oh, I just wanted to show you this house. 

This house? 

Yeah, this house. I really like it.

It’s cute! 

It is cute, right?

It’s nice. It’s a nice place. 

So do you want to head back home? 

Yeah, I want to go home. Where are we, Jack?

Oh, we’re just leaving my house. 

Your house?

Yes, we’re only about 10 minutes away from your house. 

Oh. We going to my house?

Sure, if you’re ready I’ll take you back to your house.

Yeah, I’m ready to go to my house.

Watch your step down.

Thanks, Jack.

Here, I’ve got your pocketbook.

Oh, that’s mine!

Yup! I’m just carrying it to the car for you. 

Oh, I thought I left it inside. Did we go inside? 

Yes, we were just in here looking at this house. 

Oh. Whose house is it?

Just a nice house. 

It is a nice little house. 

Be careful of the stones.

Where are we, Jack?

Just heading home, Nana. Here’s your pocketbook. 

Oh, thanks! I thought I left it inside.

Nope! You got it right here.

Whew! Haha.

Ready? All buckled in?

Where are we, Jack? Whose house is this?

Just a cute little house. We’re near Lisa and Adam, want to see their houses?

Are we going home, Jack?

Yes, I’ll take you home. 


Thanks for coming, Nana. 

No problem! I’m just along for the ride these days.

Happy to have you.

We almost home, Jack? 

Yup! We’re almost home.

February 19, 2023 01:24

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Amanda Lieser
05:40 Mar 08, 2023

Hey Jacky! Congratulations on the well deserved shortlist. I really admire your use of repetition for the story. I think that it really created the intense heartbreak that you wanted and I also really liked that title. It made me instantly intrigued. I thought you did a great job of creating tone in the story despite the fact that you weren’t allowed to tag any of the dialogue with actions, expressions, etc. nice work!


Show 0 replies
Richard E. Gower
00:22 Mar 04, 2023

Someone else mentioned heartbreaking. Nailed it! Congratulations. Well deserved.:-)


Jacky Burke
12:06 Mar 05, 2023

Thank you!


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Kathryn Kahn
20:48 Mar 03, 2023

I can see why Erik Harper Klass called this story almost perfect. (And I'm not sure what imperfection he noticed! :-) I love this story. The circular conversation rings so true, and your skill in reporting it makes it instantly clear what is going on. It is so poignant when someone's mind begins to slip away. I love the way the grandson demonstrates his kindness over and over. We can sense his sadness and his compassion. I love how the grandmother's memories of long ago are so much stronger than what was just said in the room seconds ago. I...


Jacky Burke
00:19 Mar 04, 2023

Thank you so much, Kathryn!


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
18:42 Mar 03, 2023

Jacky, I am sobbing. Thank you for this. It is so much like so many conversations I've had. The gentle resignation. Trying for clarity at first, then slowly realizing it doesn't matter... Congratulations on this achievement, Jacky. Just beautiful.


Jacky Burke
00:20 Mar 04, 2023

Thank you! I really appreciate it. <3


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Madison Stahl
18:16 Mar 03, 2023

This is such a beautifully heartbreaking story. Thank you for sharing this!


Jacky Burke
00:21 Mar 04, 2023

Thank you, Madison!


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Wendy Kaminski
15:27 Mar 03, 2023

Wow, Jacky! Incredibly well done on this story, and congratulations on the shortlist this week!


Jacky Burke
00:21 Mar 04, 2023

Thank you! -I can hardly believe it.-


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Zack Powell
10:08 Mar 03, 2023

Wow, Jacky! This is beautiful and heartbreaking - even more so after seeing the Creative Nonfiction tag. Fantastically written, and with so much love and empathy. These kinds of memory illnesses (dementia, Alzheimer's, etc.) are some of the saddest things out there, and yet Jack (I never know whether to call the characters by their names or use "You" in Creative Nonfiction) responds to Nana's questions so patiently and so earnestly. It's a wonderful interpretation of the prompt, having the dialogue be a little circuitous because of Nana's co...


Jacky Burke
00:25 Mar 04, 2023

Thank you so, so much. This comment brought a few tears to my eyes. <3


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in Reedsy Studio. 100% free.