Agnes rubbed at her swollen left wrist
and closed her eyes, as if to shutter out the throbbing.
"What's wrong, Grandma?" A
wide-eyed boy, no more than seven, stood before her, his tiny hands
resting on the worn blue arm of the chair in which his grandmother
"Fetch me my heating pad, David. I
got a pain birthing in my wrist."
David ran to his grandmother's bedroom
and retrieved the pad. This he plugged in, and arranged over his
"Not too hot, child."
David nodded and pushed the yellow
button--warm--which made a satisfactory click in response.
"Oh, that's better, David,"
Agnes said, after a few moments had passed. "You're a good boy."
The words filled David with sudden
warmth and pride. He smiled.
Agnes opened her eyes and patted her
lap. "Come on up, David," she said. "I got me some
scarecrow legs for sure, but you don't weigh but a minute." She
laughed. "Why I bet that book we're reading weighs more'n you."
He climbed into her lap and stroked her
cheek with feathery fingers. "Grandma?"
"You reckon that heating pad will
Agnes frowned. "You got you a hurt
David blinked and pointed to his chest.
"Oh, David," Agnes said.
"There's two types of pain. There's a pain of the body, like
this here wrist. Then there's a deeper pain: a pain of the heart.
Ain't no pills nor no heating pad gonna' take away that pain."
"We both have a pain of the
"Yes, David. We do."
"What takes it away?"
"Only time, child. Time and lots
of love." They sat in silence for a time, each of them lost in
the memory of that awful night when David's parents were killed.
Agnes barely had time to mourn her daughter before she began to fight
for custody of David." She closed her eyes again. Lord, help
me to raise this child up proper. Every
day was full of doubt. What am I going to do? I ain't got
but a first grade education.
She'd fought hard for the child, lying to Social Services, getting
the neighbor lady, the one with the lawering daughter, to fix up the
documents right: High school diploma. A year of community college.
The rest--good citizen, a regular churchgoer, model employee--all
that, Agnes was proud to say, was true.
lets us know we alive David. Reminds us to appreciate the simple
pleasures in life, like a chocolate ice cream cone."
cream doesn't last long, Grandma."
it don't, David. But neither will the pain."
turned to look at her. "You know what, Grandma? You're pretty
beamed. "Why, thank you, David." She flexed her wrist
experimentally. "I believe I'm feeling better now." She
reached for the book on the cocktail table and handed it to her
grandson. "Where did we leave off?"
Four." David opened to the bookmark he'd fashioned from
construction paper and buttons from Agnes's sewing box.
took the book, wrapped an arm around her grandson and pretended to
read the words that swam before her eyes, making up the story as she
went along, relying upon the pictures to fashion her story.
David, following the words on the pages, pretended he could not read,
so as to enjoy the tale his grandmother wove.
day, you gonna' read to me, child."
day." And David nodded and snuggled up closer to his
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Labels: Fiction, flash fiction, scriptic.org, writing prompts