This is a true story written in the point of view of my grandmother, who I miss dearly and wish I could visit more often…
“Goodbye Nëna! See you next weekend!” My granddaughter, Antea waved at me at the front door.
“Goodbye Antea!” I move toward her and hug her. She’s a head taller than me now; it’s like hugging an adult.
Antea leaves my apartment and climbs down the stairs of the old, apartment building. There’s no elevator in my building, and I live on the last apartment on the fifth floor. Imagine the tiredness that my poor grandchildren when they climb all those flights of stairs. Imagine my exhaustion. I'm a 68 years elderly woman. All those stair plus grocery bags can equal to a heart attack.
From my window, I watch Antea enters her mother's car and drive away.
The house seems empty without her.
I remember when she was just a little girl, a little chubby four years old who I could carry in my arms and embrace her tight all day. I remember singing her sweet lullabies to sleep and taking her on long strolls in a baby carriage. I remember her sleeping in a crib bed, hugging her stuffed ducky as she went into a deep sleep. I remember her watching “Teletubbies” or “Dora the Explorer” on T.V and convincing me to watch them with her.
Ten years later, she is a 14 years old teenager. I cannot carry her in my arms, the baby blanket and crib are gone, she doesn’t watch anymore of those baby T.V shows, I cannot sing her lullabies and worst of all… she doesn't visit me as often as she used to.
She doesn't need me anymore.
There is not much I can do after my grandkids leave, except for watching cooking shows, do house cleaning and make sure my grouchy husband gets his dinner on time. I feel an emptiness and loneliness inside of me. It is silent in the kitchen, except for the constant ticking of the clock.
Every second, every minute and every hour after my grandchildren leave, the emptiness builds up inside me. What wouldn't I do to have my grandchildren visit me everyday? What wouldn’t I give to see their rosy, freckled cheeks again?
What’s the point? After all, who cares what an elderly woman thinks anymore?
I sit down and try to calm myself before my blood pressure goes any higher. As I make myself coffee, a thought hits me like a truck.
I go to my bedroom as fast as my fragile legs can carry me and open up my dresser, where some of my secret treasures lay. I have jewelry from my mother and other relatives of my family. I have a photo of my grandfather; a man I have never met, but I've heard great things about him. He was one of the only people from Albania to travel to Argentina, and he never came back. No one knows what happened to him and I really wish I could have met him in person, he sounds like an adventurous person, a person who was not afraid to conquer the world. I wish I could have been more like that.
I sighed and continue to look deeper into the dresser. I rummage through every precious thing I own, hoping to find what I am looking for.
Then, at the very bottom of the drawer, where thick dust filled the corners, was a folder. The folder contained all of Antea’s old sketches. Everything she has ever drawn as a little kid when she came to visit me. Her little fingerprints smudged the pages with paint. Bright yellow, brilliant blue, dark red mixed with green. All the colours of innocence, all on one drawing.
There was a little message at the corner, I push my glasses closer to my eyes and look at the sloppy writing.
To Nëna, with lots of love. -Antea
It makes my eyes tear up. Nostalgia takes over me.
Oh, how I miss her.
I vowed to myself that I would show Antea these sketches the next time she comes for a visit. It will make her laugh at how silly she used to draw.
It will make her remember the days when she spent more time with me.
I hear a knock at the door. I stand up, wipe my tears and move quickly to open the door.
It was Antea.
“Hi Nëna! Sorry to disturb you, but I forgot something!”
It’s time to show Antea what I found, at the bottom of the drawer.