My memories are of spicy chili, of Reader's Digest and National Geographic. Of Nova and the Discovery Channel, of laughs and tears. Of my grandfather's pipe still hinting of tobacco long after he quit, his encouraging words telling me to learn all I could about life and the world. He loved to see me read, to see me get good grades, to watch me excel. My memories are of cancer, of hospitals, of half-melted ice cream in hard plastic cups. Of seeing the man who once pushed me high on swings, or let me find squirrel nests with binoculars ten times too large, waste away and ultimately disappear. My memories are of promises, impossible to keep. He should have lived to see me graduate, to see me grow up, to let me thank him for all he has done. My memories are of death, and never getting to say good-bye. My memories are of spicy chili and Reader's Digest. c
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.