I watch my grandmother’s face, waiting for that faint spark of recognition that never comes, hasn’t for years. The same conversation over and over, do you know who I am?
She tells me I’m a pretty girl, “Oh look at your eyes.”
They told my parents all baby’s eyes are blue but mine never changed.
Her daughter has a little girl with the same name as mine.
“And what’s she like?”
“She sings me little poems, poems she made up herself, you know. She’s my dear one.”
“I write poems too.”
“And do you sing them?”
The nurse walks in, pats my grandmother’s hand. Her uniform is faded, like it was hung in the sun. My grandmother used to hang our bathing suits on the clothesline, all the little boys in the neighborhood whistling with their hands. The nurse gives the most terrible smile, creased with false empathy. Or maybe not. I’ve decided not to like her.
“They treat you like a child,” I whisper next to my grandmother’s ear, curled in a seashell. “But I won’t. You’re a woman and smart and wonderful and I love you.”
“Do you?” Her eyes blink and I see the little lines around them fold and refold. “We’ve only just met.”
I take her hand, try to smooth away the nurse’s fingerprints. “I guess you have that effect on people.”
Kate LaDew is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Studio Art. She resides in Graham, North Carolina with her two cats, Janis Joplin and Charlie Chaplin.