Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the one hundred and ninth piece in this series. This week’s is a 467-worder by freelance writer, blogger and book reviewer Angela Sturm. This story will be podcasted in episode 34 (with two other stories and some 6-worders) on Sunday 1st December.
I can see him making his way up the stairs. No one else appeared to notice. I called to him and he smiled. I took his outstretched hand and in an instant we were walking through the cornfield, talking laughing, knowing. I suspect this will be our last outing together. I want to cry but for some reason I can’t. I am strangely happy, content to say nothing.
I know what he is doing and why he’s doing it. He loves me. He wants me to be the first to know. I can hear crying in the background and people talking in hushed tones, moving about, but I can’t see anyone. “Can you see them?” I ask. “Yes, I can,” he said. You will see them soon enough.”
We continued to walk and although our lips weren’t moving, our conversation carried on. I am having trouble remembering much of anything said, I only know how peaceful this is and I never want to leave. I held tightly to his hand. Memories of early morning fishing expeditions, milk toast and that awful smell of head cheese he loved to make, filled my mind and made us both laugh. I remember him clothing and feeding the homeless and that silly dance he did every morning while singing the wake up song, pulling at his hair and making it stick up. I was laughing so hard I barely noticed that we’ve stopped walking. He is looking at me now, time standing still. He looks so serious, gently placing his hands on my cheeks, searching deep into my eyes. I think I saw a tear trickle down his face. I have only ever seen him cry once, and it was when he told me stories about the war and how no man should have to endure what he witnessed. War killed his spirit. I can feel my tears now. Our journey has come to an end.
The fields have disappeared. He’s not holding my face anymore. Desperate, I call out his name. “I am right here princess, do not be afraid.” I can barely see him. I call out again, “Why are you so far away?” “It is time,” he said. “I am going home.” Then a soft white light… well, more like a white cloud, appeared. He drew closer and smiled at me for the last time, then disappeared into the white fog.
A door opened somewhere, more crying. I hear my name. Something has my shoulder. “Ava, Ava, wake up, honey.” I turn to look at the clock. It’s after midnight. “Dad and I need to talk to you.” My room is filled with family. They are staring at me. “Grandpa died in his sleep,” they said, “in heaven now,” but I already knew this.
I watched him go.
I asked Angela what prompted this piece and she said…
My grandfather and I were very close. I remember like it was yesterday when he passed. I was sixteen, eating a tuna sandwich watching the wheel of fortune. My grandma called and simply said, “I think Grandpa is dead. Can I talk to your dad please?” Calm as could be. I know now she was in shock, but back then, I kept wondering how she remained so composed.
The flash fiction piece I wrote is based on actual events, but fictionalized. I miss my grandpa as much today as I did those many years ago when he died. I think about him often, the impact he had, and continues to have, on me, so I decided to memorialize him. “Watcher” was written with him in mind.
Thank you, Angela. It was very moving, and having lost my father September 2001, I feel just the same.
Angela lives in Minnesota, is mother to three children and one grandchild, and blogs at http://insideasanemind.com.
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