"Ganny"

October 16, 2009
“Hello?” I answer my sister’s phone call with curiosity. The clock reads five o clock, and she usually doesn’t get off until then. Her voice sounds strained as she struggles to find the words. “Ganny, “ she says, “she…” The rest blurs into only noise as my heart sinks to my feet and my breath is taken from me.

* * *
I groggily open my eyes, inhaling the smell of bacon, eggs, and chocolate gravy. I glance at the clock on the nightstand: 10:43. Too early for me. “Five more minutes!” I spit out to mainly myself. Still in bed, I turned my head towards the window. Light streams in through those thing curtains to reveal a beautiful day outside. I smile; comfort floods over me as I think of my family in the kitchen bustling around.
The smells of breakfast stream under the door, and once again they tease my nostrils. No longer able to avoid temptation, I crawl out of bed and sleepily stumble into the kitchen a few rooms away.
She was the first one I saw every morning. Whether it was when I walked into the living room to see her reading the newspaper, perched legs up in that red lazy boy; or entering the kitchen to see her at the table enjoying her morning mug of coffee. Like many other mornings, I stroll into the kitchen and am greeted by her wholehearted smile; my grandmother’s smile could light up a room.
Sounds of the football game escape into the kitchen as I slide into my chair to join my father, my brother, and my sister. Ganny sits, and we begin to share a meal. Guaranteed delicious food, guaranteed some laughter, we smile. And dig in.

* * *
My finger leaves the warmth of my jacket pocket, quickly reaching for the doorbell. The cold stings my uncovered skin, but only for a second. The instant I hear the doorbell sound on the other side of the front door, my finger retreats into the warm fleece of my jacket pocket once again.
The door opens to reveal my grandmother, Julia Ann, smiling as she greets us. I smile as well as the heat from inside instantly warms my face. I’m overwhelmed with the comfort that I will soon be with my family. Behind my grandmother, also known as Ganny, I see the TV portraying an image of some cartoon I’ve never seen before. Hearing laughter, I gather that the video is for my cousin Cole. The sounds of other voices ring through my ears as we enter our safe haven; my dad, aunt, uncle, cousin, and the sound of Elvis singing carols. I smile. There’s nothing like Christmas at Ganny’s.

* * *

My heart seems to be replaced with emptiness as I register what my sister is saying. My grandmother, Julia Ann, has passed away. My mind goes blank as I try to comprehend those words. Passed away… this isn’t real. Someone better pinch me really soon, because I no longer want any part of this nightmare.
My mind wanders to all the times I would tag along at work with her. She would show off her granddaughter proudly, giving me a simple task to occupy my time. Those days were always a comfort to me. No worries in the world besides alphabetizing whatever it was she had given me.
I experience flashbacks of the numerous times she had taken me to softball practice. I would bring along my pre-practice meal of spaghetti-o’s, heating them in her microwave. I remember those long talks we had on the way to the fields, the radio playing quietly in the background.
My car comes to a stop in my driveway. I sink lower into my seat, and close my eyes.





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