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Nanna

The Journey Never Ends

By Celia in UnderlandPublished 8 months ago Updated 8 months ago 3 min read
16

I watch silently as you melt -like a candle- into your paisley nightgown — the same kind I clung to for comfort as a kid. Your face is stagnant, and the tubes and contraptions that mummify you have become invisible to me now.

Your breath is hollow.

There is no fight left that you have not already fought. But this? This you cannot fight.

She asks if they should turn it off. Memory postpones an acknowledgement.

“Journey’s,” you whisper gently in that soft lilt that promises security and soothes like chamomile lotion. “The journey,” you clarify, swallowing deeply, “never ends. I am not afraid.”

“It is time,” the voice says again, like a deity speaking from above.

I nod.

I think I nod.

Winter was her favourite season. The barren earth, she said, gave her comfort; this is how the earth has always been. Light and dark, black on white, and the coldness, she said, enhances the embers of humanity, nudging gentle encouragement, fuelling the heart into a glowing coal.

She was a romantic, my Grandmother, always looking for the alternative, less callous explanation for all things.

I have often wondered how she survived for so long with such a strong belief in the goodness of human nature and remained true to her vision of it, right until the end.

Although I knew it, I did not think it would come so soon.

The voice mutters platitudes, soft to aid the transition, “It is for the best — there will be no pain.” But it only adds to the horror of it all.

It drowns me in an ocean of sound and light, and the crashing of waves against the rocks. I am flailing.

I don’t want to let you go. Grandmother, please stay with me.

Your last breaths are delicate, like the silken thread of a cobweb, yielding each to each, building a home in another place.

I know that you are already gone. It’s hopeless to wish for a miracle.

You are motionless, and the hollowness dwindles into nothing. You gasp loudly. Too loudly.

I know it is your last.

I savour it, swill it around in my mouth, and swallow it whole so that it will stay within me, growing into you.

“She is gone,” someone announces bluntly.

She has chosen her way, far from the starched linen of a hospital room.

She has returned to her home, high up in the mountains, far away from machines, wires, and the surly silhouette of the nurse peering into her.

The tears do not come.

She was not afraid.

Her crumpled hands become cold in mine as she begins her long walk over the white-tipped peaks towards home.

My eyes move up to your face. It is older than I remember. In the last second between life and death, you’ve aged into an eternity. Your once glistening eyes are dull, and your cheeks have sunk into a valley — the valley of your childhood.

I close my eyes and turn away. This image isn’t you. It doesn’t belong to me.

I search for you somewhere else, in a place of comfort, away from here, this sterile room.

You laugh as we mosey around the site of the fairground. The smell of sugar makes the air sickly sweet.

We walk hand in hand to the candy floss stall.

We run together. “Faster, Nanna, faster!”

We won’t miss it. We mustn’t miss it.

We make it to the Ferris wheel, breathless and filled with joy.

“You can see the whole world from here!” you shout jubilantly.

The candy floss is sweet in our mouths as we sit on the small chairs that cocoon us together. You say the wheel is special, that looking down on the world beneath us is the only way to truly understand it. You tell me to watch. Always watch.

I fly down the Helter Skelter, waving frantically at your beaming face. I want to reach the bottom.

Quickly.

Quickly. I will be in your arms again.

Microfiction
16

About the Creator

Celia in Underland

Just a voice finding its echo. Teacher - reader-writer-cat lover. Wanderer. Weirder than a koala in The Arctic. Magpie for shiny words and stuff. Taking the scenic route home.

Admin @ FB VoIces in Minor

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

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Comments (16)

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  • Christy Munsonabout 16 hours ago

    Powerful creation that floods me with a hundred memories and images at once comforting and fatalistic to my heart. Loved how much it hurt. Congratulations on winning the Graveyard Challenge.

  • Rene Peters4 months ago

    This is beautiful! Congrats on winning the Graveyard Challenge with it!

  • Rachel Deeming4 months ago

    Celia, this was so deeply moving. I think this is the best piece that I have ever read by you. I am moved beyond measure in a leisure centre car park and I have panda eyes. How did I miss this? Was this published in the days before our exchanges. I feel blessed to have read this which sounds deeply pretentious and yet, it is how I feel, in this moment, on a car park in rural England. You touched my core. I need to pick the moments I read your stuff with more discrimination.

  • Lamar Wiggins4 months ago

    This was dreamy. Like being caught between a fairytale and the reality of letting go. I felt this. Thank you for sharing.

  • Mackenzie Davis4 months ago

    Oh, Celia, this is so languid and nostalgic, tragic and full of love. It's stunningly written, too. Those alternating short and long sentences really create a unique pace for the reader. I completely adore the metaphorical space we're in throughout the piece, too, no explanation, just a reality that is somewhere between the dimensions, where the narrator is finding Nanna's spirit. The final scene, with the candy floss, is so colorful, so vivid. It's poetry.

  • This is so sweetly written about farewelling your dear Nanna... and a lovely ending, revisiting precious memories together.

  • Donna Renee4 months ago

    Oh ❤️❤️❤️ this just hits so perfectly. Beautiful, beautiful writing!!

  • Donna Fox (HKB)4 months ago

    Celia, this is breathtaking and resinated with me on such a deep level! I kind of had to pause and just feel my feelings... simply masterful piece you have here!

  • JBaz4 months ago

    There are too many beautiful lines in this wonderful piece. You were able to share everything with us and let us see the love you have. I wish I could write something like this for those in my life who are no longer here.

  • MecAsaf8 months ago

    Excellent work

  • Mark Gagnon8 months ago

    A wonderful way to honor your Nanna and share your thoughts and feelings. Well done!

  • This made me so emotional as I too have experienced this same situation with ny grandma! I loved your story so much!

  • C.S LEWIS8 months ago

    this so amazing

  • Incredibly, deliciously, painful sweet, Celia. You have allowed us a great privilege, my friend, to be with you & your Nanna in these most tender, heart-rending, intimate of moments. Thank you for inviting us in.

  • Dana Crandell8 months ago

    Beautifully written, Both terribly sad and wonderfully uplifting. Well done.

  • Kendall Defoe 8 months ago

    Not sure whether to laugh or cry here... Beautiful.

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