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.
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.
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.
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?