Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The queen of all she surveys

She looked out, across the flaming grass, upon a hot and salty scene. They’d left her there, while they played, or sat to talk and read; they left her there, in the shade.
It wasn’t as if they were thoughtless children or mean. It’s not as if they sought to dump their infirm gran as a young mother might disregard her newborn’s pram.
No, they thought she liked to sit alone, as regal as a queen upon her throne. They would slowly turn their heads to spy; see her relaxing and smiling or staring at planes in the sky.
They never knew what thoughts blistered her head, what screams twisted her dreams. Her smiles and waves were enough to share; they’d get no closer than when pushing her chair.
It was a torment to her, you know? Every moment she was propped before that show. With the pantheon of summer laid out before her – all pumping limbs and cart-wheeling hair – there’s grandma with the brakes on and the wheelchair, frozen in leering frustration before them, like a garden gnome.
The hours there, broken only by the short straw and trips taken to the lavatory door, until four o’clock comes and it’s not quite so warm. They forgot her cardigan you see, they forgot to leave it under the tree; so it’s time to stop having fun, ‘cos grandma might be getting cold. It's time to load her into the back of the car and drive her home.

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