Sunday, January 28, 2007

In Memoriam

I finished that paper for English. Let me know what you think! (Or, family members- if I screwed something up!)


My six-year-old sister sat in the navy blue leather seat, grasping the arms tightly. Our two cousins, E---- and J-----, took off, pushing the seat’s back, and [Shrewd] went flying down the hall, giggling uncontrollably. I laughed and ran alongside them. “Me next!” I cried.

They stopped right before they careened into the wall, and I climbed up onto the seat as soon as it was vacated by my sister. I braced myself for the ride, excited. Just then, my mother came out into the hall.

“What do you think you’re doing?” she cried, confiscating our ride. “Your grandmother’s wheelchair is not a toy! Get back into the room before you wake everyone up!”

I know, even if I don’t remember, that I was four years old that day. I’d picked out my pretty Easter dress that Mummy had made me, with the big flowers. [Shrewd] had a matching dress. She remembers when we got these dresses, and how excited she was about the whole affair. She wore her dress to school, despite our mother’s cautioning, and had tripped on the playground and ripped it. Luckily Mummy was good at fixing dresses as well as making them.

You can see in the pictures that my short, curly hair was in pigtails, like always; I wore pigtails almost every day because my hair was too short and sparse for anything else. I remember that I liked pigtails, but I wanted thick, long hair. We were at my grandmother’s nursing home, having my birthday party, because Grandma was too sick to come to our house in Epsom. Grandma couldn’t even leave her bed. We were all gathered in her room, Mummy and Daddy and Aunt J---- and Uncle D-----, and my little tow-headed brother who was not yet two, and Grandpa [my last name], of course. All because it was my birthday.

I remember the wheelchair was returned to it’s proper location, and I climbed up and sat in it like it was a chair, because I hadn’t been allowed to ride in it. [Shrewd] rode in it, but not me, and that wasn’t fair because I was the birthday girl. But Mummy shooed me over to the bed. “It’s time for cake, pumpkin,” she said, “I’ll put it on Grandma’s tray so she can see it, okay?”

I used the arm rest as a handle and pulled my white knee, covered in tights, up onto the hospital bed sheet, then crawled over to curl up next to Grandma. Her hair was very thin and I could see dark spots on her scalp, like scabs or something. She was very pale, because she was sick and stuck in the hospital room. There were flowers, and balloons because it was my birthday, but it still felt and smelled like a hospital. Grandma smiled at me, and I smiled back, and Mummy set the cake down on the TV tray. It was so pretty! I was born in October so the big rectangular cake had a beautiful fall tree with red, orange, yellow, and brown leaves, and all the leaves were M&M’s with just those colors, and some of the M&M leaves had fallen to the ground around the tree’s base. There were five candles on it, four because I was four and one to grow on. Everyone gathered around and sang, and then Grandma helped me blow out the candles.

I didn’t know then that she was in the nursing home because she had brain cancer and only had a short time to live. I didn’t know she was going to die, and it would be the first time my sister would see Daddy cry and ever after she’d have problems with death; I didn’t know that [The Brother] would never remember her, and I didn’t know that I would have only one memory of her, ever, and that would be of sitting next to her in my beautiful dress that my mother made and of her helping me blow out the candles on my big, beautiful birthday cake with M&M leaves.

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