Monday, August 22, 2005

Sleepy little town

Yesterday we went on a cross-state road trip to watch M's favorite team play baseball. After passing through a particulary dense patch of fog, we came over a small hill and entered the sleepy little town of Emma.

In spring 2002, I was at a conference outside of L.A. I had been in meetings all day and left my phone in my hotel room. When I got back I had over 20 messages in voice mail... as I started listening to them the story started to unfold. My father's gruff voice was soft, and pleading - "please call the house whenever you can." Then my stepmother's voice, strained and tired - "honey please call... it's important." Then my sister crying "It's about Grandmama."

I never finished listening to the messages. She had a stroke, and was in the hospital. The doctors didn't think that she had much time left. After talking to my parents I was left sobbing. I surprised myself when instinctively the first person I wanted to talk to was him. We had been dating only a few weeks. And yet, I called him. I just wanted to hear his voice, to know that it was going to be o.k.

I sat in the bathroom all night with him on the phone - a continent between us. As we talked in the wee hours of the night she finally gave up and let go. I sobbed for my family's loss of Grandmama... the woman who routinely cheated all the grandkids and great grandkids at UNO, whose back porch I used to sit on and read to her cat Felix (when I was five, and the book was upside down), the woman whose laugh shook the whole neighborhood, whose house I used to find solace in when I was a child - walking down the dirt road knowing that a big breakfast of eggs and steak would be waiting as soon as I got there. We would sit around all day playing dress up and Sorry and Yahtzee. She was amazingly talented at knitting and crochet before the arthritis robbed her of her art. I still have baby booties she made for me, and have saved them all these years for a child of my own. She always wanted us four girls to learn how, and none of us ever took the time to learn before it was too late. I wish now that I had taken the time to learn from her.

Should we have a daughter someday, I would love to name her Emma. As we passed through yesterday, I wondered if I'd have that chance.

And part of me - for the first time in a long time - actually believed it was possible.

Hope may be fleeting, but it's here - at least right now.


At 2:09 PM, Blogger Cass said...

Oh, April. This is just beautiful. Poignantly sad and beautiful.

At 2:10 PM, Blogger Em said...

I have just discovered your blog. I have put you on my list.

At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a beautiful tribute to your Grandma. Maybe you could find some old patterns of hers and learn to knit that way. Once when I was pregnant I was going to learn but my Grandma has a whole box with my name on that she's saving for a great-grandchild she may never have.

I'm glad a little bit of hope has come back into your life.


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