heartshaped

IMG_3693

(short fiction)

Heartshaped

Vaguely heartshaped, that’s how you described her face, and I always imagined her—with my child’s-eye, literal imagining—as having a face the color of a pink valentine’s candy heart, a face with a pointy chin and also big eyes made of chocolate, because you said hers were brown and melty.

That’s how I saw her, my grandmother I never knew.

The photos were all lost in the legendary house fire, so I never got to see her, how she really looked. I used to long to be able to visit her, like my friend Annie did her Nana. I thought that the first thing I’d do was crawl in her lap and tell her how much you missed her and how much you talked about her. It seemed that would please her, and the way your face looked when your talked about how her singing made the moon rise, how she played a mean game of cribbage and could bait a hook with one hand  made me want to know her, and please her.

Later, when I was near-grown, everyone began to remark how like her I was. I used to pull my dark curls away from my face and look for signs of the tell-tale sweetness emerging, but to me, the eyes reflecting back in the mirror were cold as the glass itself, cold as any Canadian January. My face itself was more of a pillow shape. I began to wonder what sort of sieve memories run through, to sugar them so.

Much later still, describing you to my own children, I honeyed your brown hair, I made your eyes the color of the ice on a bright day in March, that fresh slate color, and I made your hugs as warm as raisin-oatmeal cookies fresh from the oven. I waited for them to pepper me with the questions I once would have asked.

My children were raised on your photographs, though. Raised, too, on reality TV and iPods and textbooks, not fed random poetry and left to wander woods and libraries alone, the way I was.

I thought I was doing the right thing, educating them, drilling them with the math facts that I myself could never pin down, the after-school tutoring, summer enrichment programs, sending them to the Catholic school for good discipline and rigor.

But I think I made them blind.

 

 


This short piece was written from a prompt in workshop, using the Amherst Writer’s and Artists method.

 

 

 

 

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  1. #1 by Dawn D on October 1, 2017 - 1:48 pm

    No, you didn’t make them blind. They are now choosing to see what they want. If they’re teens (who else watches reality TV?), they’re focused internally, that’s part of the development stage. They’ll outgrow it.
    They may not become poets right away. Maybe never. But they’re certainly not blind, even if they see things differently than you.

    • #2 by Elaine Olund on October 1, 2017 - 2:54 pm

      Hi Dawn! Thank you so much for reading this. I so appreciate you. Happily, this one is pure fiction. My two young adult offspring have far better vision than I do in every way that matters. I learn so much from them 🙂 I realize I don’t post much fiction here–but fiction is my original homeland, writing-wise! I probably need to call it out better as that, since I mostly post personal memoir and poems.

      • #3 by Dawn D on October 1, 2017 - 4:21 pm

        I’m so glad that this was fiction! Sorry about the silly comment then! But yes, it felt so life-like that… well, it’s good fiction 😉

  2. #4 by Ellen Austin-Li on October 3, 2017 - 12:22 am

    “I used to pull my dark curls away from my face and look for signs of the tell-tale sweetness emerging…”❤️

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