Happy Birthday, dear Grandma,
Happy Birthday to you!
Emma took a shaky, deep breath and blew out the candle on her cupcake. “100 years old today”, she thought to herself.. She never would have imagined she’d live this long, not with her careless, adventure laden life. Boy had it been a good one though.
“Grandma, what’s it like to be 100?” Maggie asked, gently sitting on the edge of her grandmother’s bed.
Emma knew you weren’t supposed to have favorites, but Maggie held a special place in her heart. Out of the 12 grandchildren her daughter Eva had given her, only Maggie shared the same flaming red hair and fiery temper. Maggie also was the thrill seeker. Apparently that trait skips generations as Eva, Emma’s only child was as timid and shy as a rabbit. Maggie, though, was a spitfire. She had dropped out of college, much to her parents horror, to pursue a life as a stunt-double. She made damn good money at it, too Unfortunately, the career meant a move to California and Emma rarely saw Maggie now.
“Its been a long journey Mags. I wouldn’t trade my life or my experiences for anything. Good or bad, its been my life. Can’t say I thought I’d see this day though, not with what I put this body through.”
Maggie looked at her grandmother, suddenly seeing the frailty and hearing the years in her voice. “Grandma, what is your best memory? What day would you go back and relive if you could?”
“Oh that’s an easy one Mags, it would be the day I met your grandpa!”
Maggie looked uncomfortable for a minute. She shifted herself carefully on the bed and opened and closed her mouth several times. Each time she looked like she was about to say something, but stopped.
“Out with it Mags, what’s bothering you?” Emma caught Maggie’s eyes and held them. The stare said there would be no sidestepping her.
Maggie thought for a moment and then blurted “You would go back to that day even now knowing that grandpa would leave you with the shame of an unwed pregnancy?”
“Honey darling, war happened. Its not like your grandfather up and disappeared. He got himself enlisted and god bless his soul died during his very first battle. We had a nice night right before he left, though. Ain’t ashamed in that and I have never, not once, been ashamed of my Eva. Have I ever told you about the day I met your grandpa? Oh he was so handsome!”
Maggie had heard the story a hundred times, but let her grandmother continue.
“I was out looking for some fabric to sew my wedding dress. You know I was supposed to marry that old fuddy-duddy Marshall Whitmore, right? Well anyway, there I was walking down Main Street, having myself a right darn good cry because I couldn’t afford even the cheap cotton over at Mary’s shop. How was I supposed to marry Marshall, who was the mayor at that time, without a proper wedding dress? Everything I had back on the farm had yellowed. As I said, I was having myself a right good cry about it. That’s when I felt an arm go around my stomach and a strong man was pulling me out of the path of Mr. McDermott’s Ford.” Emma seemed to brighten at the memory as a small smile crossed her mouth. “It wasn’t proper for a man to touch a woman like that back then, so I gave that stranger a right good lashing with my tongue. Boy, oh boy though was he pretty to look at so once I was done acting proper, I flashed my best smile his way.”
“And the rest is history.” Maggie interrupted. “Grandpa bought you lunch and some of Mary’s finest cotton and in the process stole your heart. Honestly Grandma, how could that be your favorite day? Surely mom’s birth or one of your amazing trips could top that day?”
Emma just smiled and closed her eyes. “No honey. You’ll understand the day you meet your man and see your future. Sure ours was short, but we’ll have forever together when I leave this earth and I’m itching to have those arms around me again.”
“You come’n around tomorrow to see your old grandma before you head back home, right? I’m getting tired and want to get to dreamin’ about your grandpa again.” Emma shift her pillows and closed her eyes.
“Of course Grandma. I love you. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Maggie bent over and kissed Emma’s cheek, then picked up her purse and got her sweater from the bureau. Before she had time to shut the door, Emma was already snoring.
Maggie was still dumbfounded as she walked down the hallway. “No way just meeting a man for the first time could be that special!” Maggie thought. Just then the elevator doors opened and Maggie’s world changed.
For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Kirsten Doyle challenged me with "You are at your own 100th birthday party, reflecting back on your life. Tell us about the best day of your life, from your 100 year old-self" and I challenged Kurt with "Your character wakes up only to realize it wasn't a dream/nightmare".
Since I had just done a 1st person last week, I took a few liberties and went with characters. I had also wanted to challenge myself with dialog, something I suck at. But yes, meeting my husband so far has been the best day of my life.