Empathy, sympathy, sorrow

It’s the smell you remember and you picture her face; wrinkled like the laundry as it comes out of her old spin dryer. But something changed. She changed. She started to forget; the setting on the washing machine, not to put the red blanket in with the whites.

Your grandfather laughed as he put on his baby-pink shirt which now matched his light-rose socks. “Men should wear pink more often,” he’d said to her when she’d looked worried and her face smoothed but then he’d looked at you and you both knew what that meant.

Then it got worse; she’d get the shopping wrong, cook meals that didn’t go together, buy ingredients she’d never use – you’d had to take back all those bananas to the man on the market stall and apologise that she really didn’t need so many.

She started imagining things; pets long dead, people from school or neighbours she’d lost contact with. It was the bat circling the sky above your home that morning that had signalled the change for you; its foreboding, the sound of its wings beating against the late autumn breeze, yet she’d smiled and sung to it, the song she’d sung to you all those years ago.

As she’d opened the front door, you wondered if it was too soon, you’d made a mistake, that she was fine, but then you’d followed her into the kitchen and watched as she’d gone to put the kettle on the hob, and you’d grabbed it before the plastic had had a chance to melt. That’s what you were doing; melting, your empathy turning to sympathy turning to sorrow.

Then your grandfather appeared and put his hand on your shoulder, smiling briefly, and nodding as if taking the responsibility for the decision you’d made together. He’d helped her put on her favourite coat, given her her handbag, and picked up her small beige suitcase as she followed you back out the front door.


Photography courtesy of morguefile.com.

** NEW!! You can now subscribe to the mixed blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!

See http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008E88JN0

or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books (including my debut novel!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.

For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.

As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do, and a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words (and post stories of up to 3,000 words). Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me posting it online in my new Red Pen Critique Sunday night posts, then do email me. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.