They say you can never go back, but I had no choice. When my grandmother got sick there was no one to care for her. No one but me. So I went back.
My grandmother raised me when my parents died. They weren’t even together, like how much did God hate me to make that happen? My mom was on a regular weekly grocery shopping trip when a semi truck blew through a red light, crashed directly into the drivers side of her car, and killed her instantly. Everyone says at least it was a quick death. I don’t get the comfort in that at all. My dad was coming back from a business trip to some big city, I can’t even remember and don’t want to, the fight was perfect, the landing was stellar, by all accounts there was absolutely nothing notable about the flight, except that when it landed there was a dead body in one seat. Heart failure. And I always thought you had to have a heart for it to fail.
So my grandmother raised me for the remaining three years before I could legally emancipate myself early based on my ability and the fact that my grandmother was too old to be raising me, especially when her memory was failing and what she needed was someone to care for her. But I didn’t know that at the time. She hid it well. If she was even hiding it. Who knows? She seemed fine when I left a couple years ago.
I left at sixteen and started my career. Ha. It’s not work to throw paint around on a canvas and have everyone under the sun declare it a masterpiece because what they’re really seeing is your tragedy. At eighteen I’m more famous than that Warhol guy although I never really understood his “genius” either.
Eighteen and going back to figure out what to do with my grandma. How do you care for someone who doesn’t even remember you? It’s only been two years! How did things change so much, and why didn’t I notice?
I guess I should be grateful. I may not know how to care for her, but I have enough money that I can pay someone who does. Grateful. I should be grateful my mom went quickly and grateful my grandma won’t but that I can afford to care for her. This makes no sense. I’m supposed to be grateful for opposite things? What a racket.
It would probably have been better to pack her up and send her to me rather than going back to her. She wouldn’t know the difference anyway. I still don’t know why I didn’t do that. I did think about it. I’m not completely witless. But I didn’t. I came back to this place I swore I’d never come back to. I guess a part of me had to see if it changed.
In books the characters are always going back and realizing how small everything is when it all looms so large in their memories. What a crock.
Everything is exactly as I left it. Small town, small house, small minds. But I supposed I’m meant to be grateful for that too. Whatever.
This post was written as a thirty minute writing exercise, no editing, no stopping and was inspired from a writing prompt in Bryan Collins’ “Yes, You Can Write!” book available here.
Please note that I’m well aware I am not using Bryan’s prompts as he intended, but because they are spurring the pieces, I’m giving credit where it’s due.