Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Wooden Hearts (Fiction)

"Hi Grandma," Stacey waved at her grandmother sitting in the sunroom near a window."How are you?"

"I'm fine dear," the grandmother replied, as her face lit up to see her grand-daughter."It's so nice of you to come and visit me."

"I'm glad to see you Grandma. Have you enjoyed your week?"

"Yes dear."

"What would you like to do Grandma? Would you like me to read you a story or would you rather look at your photo album?"

"I'd like to look at the photo album dear" the grandmother said, wearing a slight smile.

Stacey took out the album and started going over the photos with her grandmother, as she had done so many times before. She recalled for her people and places, hoping to spark some memory. Her grandmother would ask who this was or where was this place. Stacey always gave her an answer, not always correct, since some photos were taken before Stacey was born and not all of the faces were familiar.

They happened upon grandpa's photo and Stacey said," There's your true love Grandma."

"Yes, that's Bill, but he's not my true love."

"What do you mean Grandma? Not your true love?"

"My true love's Roy," the grandmother replied, "Roy Smith. We had planned to get married, but he had to go away to war. Before he left, he carved two hearts on a tree for our initials, L.R. and R.S. He said when he returned, we would be married and he would carve an arrow through the hearts to show them joined. But he never returned."

"I'm sorry to hear he never came back Grandma."

"I don't know if he ever came back. I had to go away?"

"Why did you have to go away."

"Well, my parents sent me away to have the baby. It would cause too much shame on the family for me to stay there. A few years later my parents died. I went back a few times but never saw Roy. The tree was still there with the two hearts. A year later, I met Bill and we were married. He thought my husband had been killed in the war."

"Grandpa Bill is not my grandfather?"

Roy Smith returned after the war to search for Laura. But the family had moved away and no one knew where. He went to the tree and carved an arrow through the two hearts. At the arrow's tip, he carved his phone number.


Stacey walked home, turning over in her mind what her grandmother had said. "No, that can't be true" she thought out loud. "Bill's not my grandfather. Grandma must be mixed up. She is always getting mixed up. I read her a story and a week later, she is the person in the story. Someone must have told her about the two lovers and now she thinks she is one of them. I am sure that's what's happened."

Arriving at a crosswalk, Stacey stopped to check traffic, first to the left and then to the right. Her vision to the right was obscured by a wooden electric pole, on which she saw carved two hearts with an arrow going through them. At the arrow's tip was a phone number.

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