Posted on Tuesday, May 1, 2012

“How much did he drink?” I asked.  “You know, my Dad.  Was he always a drinker?”  Before she responded, I leaned in closer, sliding my elbow onto the counter and resting my chin on my hand. Nana brushed the damp sponge across the counter, collecting crumbs from the baguette we had eaten for lunch.  She turned her back to me, facing the sink, and turned on the faucet, bringing in noise and distraction to the silent room.

Nana was a woman of silence.  She was as mysterious as her perfectly white carpet that never seemed to have a stain anywhere.  That was the living room carpet.  The hall carpet, I do not remember, because I gazed up at Dad’s high school photo on the wall.  Man was he handsome.  The fuzzy image softened any imperfections on his face – not that he needed it.  In this photo, Dad had no wrinkles on his brow or between his eyes.  In this photo, Dad’s smile was endless.  But I wasn’t in the hall.  I was still seated in the kitchen.

I clasped my hands to the bottom of the wooden chair and began to swivel back and forth slowly.  The chair squeaked a bit when I turned to the left and glided quietly when I switched to the right.  The counter was now clean, the faucet no longer running, and Nana began with the clinking of steam-cleaned water glasses.  She opened the dark cupboards and placed each glass in its row over the yellow and brown plaid lining on the shelf.  I watched her, still, without another word since I last asked her about Dad.

Fresh calla lilies lined the windowsill.  Light from the front yard seeped onto the sill.  I looked at the rays pouring in and saw small particles of dust float across the room.  She can’t clean forever, I thought, and remained seated.

She finally finished sorting the glasses, brushed her damp hands on her legs, which were covered by a white apron, and turned back to face me.  She stood still, in the most beautiful silence and looked into my eyes.  A single tear fell down her cheek, and we never talked about it again.


behind the scenes

This was a writing prompt in which I had 15 minutes to come up with an unedited piece of writing.  The question was, if you could ask your grandmother one last question, what would it be?


feature image provided by Jade Webber


  1. What a touching story, and great description. Beautiful.

  2. Thank you!

There comes a time when one realizes the cage was unlocked all along. Learn More

Copyright © 2012-2016 Rowdy Prisoners. All Rights Reserved.