Skip to main content

A Memory's Echo

I hadn't planned on another short story this month, but I couldn't sleep and a short story leapt out of me. It's shorter than I wanted it to be, but that's what you get when I'm doing this suddenly at two in the morning with no warning or planning.

One of the fondest memories I had of my grandfather before he passed away were the times we’d spend out in the front yard. I was about six or seven and he would sit in a foldout chair under the shade of the old, wooden garage door and watch me ride my bike up and down the sidewalk. I’d blaze by as fast as I could and he’d slap his hand to his forehead and make some kind of exclamation, usually, “Wow!”

We lived with my grandparents then and this was the closest thing I felt I’d had to bonding time with him. Sure, we’d watch cartoons and he’d watch us play and things like that, but for some reason, our time in the front yard with him watching me bike back and forth seemed incredibly special.

Soon, he would watch me from his same spot, only from the comfort of his wheelchair. I can still remember every detail of that chair. It was green with a rusted chrome body and gray rubber handles and the left wheel was mysteriously missing a notch in it’s rubber. I remember being upset when my grandmother gave it away to an ailing neighbor years later, but I couldn’t say a word about it.

My little brother was sitting in my grandfather’s lap when he had the heart attack that eventually killed him. They were playing a game where my grandfather would pretend to pass out and the only thing that would revive him was a kiss. He passed out onto the floor, the paramedics were called and while they worked on reviving him, my little brother shoved his way into the commotion and tried kissing him.

It didn’t work and he died in the hospital not too many days after that incident.

It was devastating, to be sure. I always felt that it might have been even more devastating to my little brother, though on a subconscious level, since I wonder if he actually remembers that as vividly as I do. But I would always cherish the memories that I did have of my grandfather, and few would be more precious than him watching me ride my bike.

I lost my grandfather so young that it was hard, later in life, to hear the bad stories about him. For my part, he was wonderful and that’s all I needed to know.

But I was stung today. I was caught completely off-guard and it was sad and sweet all at the same time.

I walked out my front door today and saw his wife, my grandmother, sitting in the shade in a fold-out chair, watching my six-year-old daughter ride her bike up and down the sidewalk, blazing by as fast as she could while she made exclamations about her speed.

“Granny,” she called out, racing by, “Look at me!”

“Wow!” my grandmother called back.

I had intended to go, but I sat down on the porch behind my grandmother and took in the scene, trying my hardest to repress the tears I felt coming on. A thousand things raced across my mind, but I simply had to enjoy this one sweet moment, an echo of one sweet memory.

She’s in her eighties and may not be with us much longer, but I feel comforted knowing that my children will have the same fond memories of her that I did of her husband.

Only I hope they have a lot more time with her than I did with him.

Comments

ava said…
hey nice writing..simple yet impactful..:-)

___________________________________

Stationery Magazine
Valerie Wangnet said…
Few stories tug at my heart, but this piece seemed so genuine. I enjoy your writing style - nothing ostentatious and pretentious, just minimal and powerful.

Great work, very happy you posted twice in a short period of time!

Val.
Sarah said…
I'm suddenly flung through time and space to a small Idaho town, running up and down a shaded sidewalk, learning to cheat at rummy, putting pennies in a giant green glass jug. It all ended far too soon for me as well. Thanks for the time warp, Bryan. :)
BlackHedghog said…
Ah, that was simply emblematic, and poignant. I have to admit that my heart sunk when your brother tried to revive him when he collapsed. It’s crazy how life can be taken away that fast, and knowing how it works. It’s really something to ponder about.

Again beautiful writing

Black H.

Popular posts from this blog

Anatomy of a Scene - City Lights

We're going to break down another scene this week, and it's one of my favorites in cinema history. It comes from the ending of City Lights by Charlie Chaplin, which I think is the greatest romantic comedy ever made. 
It's a touching film from 1931 and I would make it mandatory viewing for anyone who wants to learn to tell a story.
The scene we're going to be breaking down comes from the very end of the film, so if you haven't seen it, I don't want to spoil it for you. Go watch the film. You can rent it for $3.99 in HD on Amazon or for free on Hulu with a free trial or plus subscription. You should just buy the Blu-ray, though. You're going to want to revisit it.
For those of you familiar with the movie, or for those of you who are going to ignore my pleas to watch it and go ahead with this post anyway, I'm going to set this clip up a bit before you watch it.
City Lights tells the story of Chaplin's Tramp and how he falls in love with a blind flower …

Anatomy of a Scene: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid might be one of the most meticulously well-written movies ever made.  William Goldman scripts are almost always something special. He's a master of creating something that's interesting, every scene has a kinetic energy to it that keeps you moving. He's a talented prose novelist as well. His novel of The Princess Bride might be even better than the screenplay and the film.

But today I want to talk about a scene in particular for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid:



This scene comes early in the movie and we're still working to understand the relationship between Butch and Sundance, as well as Butch and his gang.

Goldman does something amazing as he's able to mix humor, character building, excitement, suspense, and an advancement of the story into the scene. There are so many building blocks at play here, and because the scene is so entertaining we hardly notice.

And the dialogue is so sharp I can't even stand it.

One of the mos…

Anatomy of a Scene: The Third Man

It's time again to break down a classic scene. One that's well-written and, in my view, a fine example of excellent craft.

I've done some of these articles from books (like The End of the Affairand Starship Troopers) and other movies (like Citizen Kane, City Lights, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), but now it's time to take a look at a scene from The Third Man. It blends the best of Orson Welles (as he's in the film and drives this scene) and Graham Greene, who wrote this particular screenplay.

Before we get to the scene, we need some context.

The Third Man is a tale of the black market in Vienna, just after World War II. It's about a cheap, dime-store Western novelist named Holly Martins (played by Joseph Cotton) and his friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles.) Lime offered Martins a job in Vienna, so Martins leaves America and arrives, only to find that Harry Lime is dead. Penniless, without a friend or reason to be in the country, h…