Wednesday, August 19, 2020

WEP Blades of Grass


Toya thumped to the ground with a sigh. The grass tickled the back of her knees and she reached to pull a blade from the ground.

A wide blade, perfect for making duck calls. Toya placed the blade between her thumbs but didn’t make the call.

Granny would have laughed.

The voices of the adults drifted around her, but Toya ignored them all. None of them were talking to her anyway.

Granny would have talked to her.

“Toya,” she’d say. “You blow on that grass, sunshine girl. Life is too short to be demure. You go out there and live some, you hear?”

Still, Toya didn’t blow on the grass. Instead, she rolled it between her fingers until it was a tight little ball then plucked another one.

And another.

Soon, there was a little pyramid of grass balls in front of her.

“What do you see, girl?”

A pyramid of knitting yarn Granny would use to make a sweater.

A pile of balls waiting for a cat to play.

Ammunition for a pea shooter to get back at Roger for tugging at her braids.

“Always thinking small, girl. Think bigger.”

Magic mints for the fairies and brownies who filled the woods behind the farm.

Memories.

Each ball a memory.

Granny stirring up a pot of soup.

Sitting in the sunbeams playing with the cats in the barn. Granny always said you were never too old to play in the sunbeams.

Granny holding her hand in the cemetery, telling Toya her folks might be gone, but they’d always be with her.

Making scrapbook pages with Granny.

Toya picked up the tiny balls of grass and tried to imprint each of them with a memory. She had to remember.

“Time to go.”

The woman’s voice broke Toya’s chain of memories, but she didn’t look up into that face she didn’t know.

There weren’t any other voices left. The other adults were gone.

Gone.

Toya picked up another ball of grass. Granny laughing with her as they tossed out her first attempt at peanut butter cookies.

The big bed where it was safe when the nightmares came along with the thunder.

“Toya, please stand up. We need to leave. It’s getting late and the Lawsons are expecting us.”

The Lawsons. The people she hadn’t met yet. The people she didn’t want to meet.

“Toya, it’s getting dark. It’s time to leave.”

The sun peeked over the top of the headstone but as Toya looked up, the sun winked and dropped below, leaving her in the shadows.

In Granny’s shadow.

Toya picked up the last ball of grass and added it to the memory pile in her hand. Then she rose out of the comfort of Granny’s shadow and went with the lady she didn't know.

***

This is an entry for the WEP August challenge The Long Shadow. If you click on the link, you'll find a host of other stories based on the prompt. The stories are always diverse and entertaining - well worth the time to read!

How about you? Any memories you've preserved for yourself?
Badge for the WEP Challenge The Long Shadow


50 comments:

  1. Wonderful. Toya's memories of Granny, Granny's shadow on Toya and Toya moved on. The poise in the narration is poignant. The sadness of bereavement was surpassed by loneliness.

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  2. Hi Jemi,
    This is a wonderful sad story. I left with many questions. The fact that she is now alone and about to go to another family that she doesn't know was very well portrayed.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

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    1. Thanks, Pat. I'm hoping the Lawsons are just who Toya needs!

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  3. Wow!This is such a powerful story especially as you near the end of the story. I really enjoyed it.

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  4. Sweet and sad. Very well done, Jemi.

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  5. Poor little orphan. I hope she'll find someone to love her.

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  6. Heartbreaking and beautiful.
    How I love the foundations that Granny built for her. Powerful, life affirming foundations.

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    1. Thanks, Sue! I think Toya will be just fine after having had Granny in her corner!

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  7. Oh, this story broke my heart. So much loss for a young life. But it's so well done, so evocative. And what a wonderful grandmother!

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    1. Thanks, Donna! I think Toya will always remember her Granny! :)

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  8. Lovely, and full of hope. Granny will always be there for her, always! Just beautiful!

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    1. Thanks, Yolanda! Granny will definitely be there!

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  9. Beautiful and sad. I hope the people she doesn't want to meet turn out to be wonderful.
    Naughty Netherworld Press

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  10. Toya's memories of Granny skilfully evoked, very lovely and moving. I hope things turn out well for the girl who makes grass balls. And Granny's quotes! 'Life is too short to be demure!' I love it.

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    1. Thanks! I hope Granny's words always stay with her!

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  11. Evocative and poignant. Spoke to me particularly because of the place I am at. Grandmothers are so special and memories are a therapy in bereavement. Comforting to think of the long shadows our foremothers cast even when they are no longer with us. Just lovely!

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    1. Exactly! Those memories are what get us through the toughest times of all. Sending hugs your way!

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  12. This is beautiful and heartbreaking. It's hard to lose people we love at any age, but to be all alone and ready to go live with strangers has to be so difficult. Toya's grandmother sounded wonderful, and I loved how the balls of grass portrayed different memories. This is a stunning story!

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    1. Thanks so much, Laura! I hope Granny's strength helps Toya through what's next :)

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  13. Jemi, beautiful, just beautiful...yet sad toward the end. As Nila said, '...the long shadows our foremothers cast even when they are no longer with us...' is the gem of the story to me. What a wise grandmother who has guided a young girl who lost her parents. So deep and poignant. I wish for her that the Lawsons are wonderful people who will love and cherish her. Thanks Jemi!

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    1. Thanks, Denise. I hope the Lawsons are the right people too!

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  14. A lovely, and tragic tale. Toya's memories of her grandmother are evoke an image rich childhood. Along with showcasing the transition she is currently undergoing. Well done, Jemi.

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  15. Oh this struck a chord Jemi...All the while I was thinking of my grandmother. Poignant and beautiful. Memories are the shadows that follow us, aren't they? I also liked the contrast you presented about going with the lady she didn't know to meet the people she didn't know and the happy warm memories of her grandmother.
    Sonia

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    1. Thanks, Sonia - memories are indeed those shadows! :)

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  16. Beautiful story Jemi about loss and memory. The long shadow prompt well spun into the tale. Nice twist at the end. Love stories from a child’s point of view , so authentic and refreshing. Thank you. Happy WEP week.

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    1. Thank you, Susan. I often think kids have a much clearer view than the adults!

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  17. Such a lovely story that pulled on my heart strings.

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  18. Sad and yet sweet. The shadow of her Granny serving as a connection to her past and her loss and as well as a path to her new life was clever. I hope her new family is just as loving as the memory of her old one. Great entry.

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  19. Beautifully written. Dixie Jarchow

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  20. Oh so bittersweet and lovely too, Granny makes it all so touching. Excellent writing, and I really enjoyed how you took this theme!

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  21. Toya's memories of her granny were so sweet 😢

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  22. Oh, I felt for that girl. Great development of the story through her memories. Well done.

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  23. Hi Jemi - sad to read ... but I loved how you told it - so many kids like Toya out there ... I feel for them - perhaps the new family would work this time for her ... but the long shadow was there ... Cleverly written - all the best - Hilary

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    1. Far too many kids in Toya's situation for sure! Everyone deserves a loving home!

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  24. Oh my heart! You did an amazing job with this. I'd be surprised if it didn't get an award or mention or something.

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    1. What a lovely thing to say, Jamie - thanks so much!!

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