The Aging apple pie lover
I remember picking out the perfect apples to bring home. They looked so rosy red and spotlessly shiny as I held them in my wrinkled hands. I felt the weight of them and decided that these were the ones to make the cut for the pie. Round and ripe, they would cook with just the right amount of flavor and fill the kitchen with a sweet aroma. I decided to make the pie for a special young lady in my life and knew that she would appreciate it the most out of all the women in our small family.
I recall the precious moments after the pie was lovingly made. I can see the hungry blue eyes of my granddaughter Amelia. She waits for the pie to come out of the oven. Sits in her tiny chair with her hands folded delicately in her lap. The red bow in her hair is so pretty and makes her look even more like a little doll. She yells to me, “Grandma, the timer rang off! Our apple pie is done!” Running to the stove, she grabs her black and white polka dot oven mitts as I hand her the glass pie dish to put on the table. Tiptoeing one foot slowly in front of the other, she teeters on falling but keeps her balance as she gently lays it on the wooden table.
These moments I cherish with all my heart. It’s these memories I keep in my mind no matter what else I tend to lose there. I hear the chimes ringing in the hallway and I know it must be time for dinner. This new found “home” of mine has got its ups and downs, but the food here is usually on the up side. I pushed in my chair and took one last look at my desk and the letter I had started to write. I hope I don’t forget what else I was going to say to her. So far on the page I have written: “My darling Amelia, so grown up now and about to graduate High School. Grandma is so proud of you and loves you very much, I hope you can come visit soon when you have the time. Give your mother and father my love, and be good for them like you always are.”
That sounded okay. I can do better but I have to eat dinner now. I can’t tell what smell it is in the air or what we might be having tonight. I know nurse Betty came in earlier today and must have told me. Bless her heart, she forgot to write it down on my memory board. I don’t blame her at all, she has so many patients and so little time to work with.
I slid my tiffany blue sweater on my bony long arms and rolled up the sleeves so I wouldn’t get it messy. Times are tough here, and money is tight. I can’t afford another sweater if I ruin this one. My daughter pays for me to live here and I can’t ask her to get me more fancy clothes. That’s not something a good mother would do anyways.
I look in the mirror, a face I do not recognize, a life I do not know anymore. My curly gray hair falling out of place, my lipstick smudged on my face. This time I know I have lost the air of poise and grace.
I walked out to the hallway and followed the chimes. Clever cooks. Not bells, but chimes. I guess it’s more serene sounding than a loud starting metallic noise. I’m still a bit wobbly down the hall, and I still refuse to use that hideous haggish cane. I can hold the railing on the wall, and hope I don’t suddenly fall.
Finally in the dining room, I look around. I don’t see a familiar face. All grey heads and blue green eyes. Blending in with the wallpaper, they become geometric shapes that look crowded and out of place. I ignore the shapes and grab my plate. Great, we are having pizza tonight. Something different, yet simple enough to eat quickly enough so I can go back to my letter for Amelia.
After dinner I came back to my room, and I must have fallen asleep writing. I looked out the window and blackness filled the sky. A deep empty and dark void that I was all too familiar with. I closed the blinds and switched on my bedside lamp. I laid down in my bed and counted my pills in my head. I think I took them all today, but I couldn’t really say. It’s just always going to be this way.
I woke up in the morning and got the letter sealed and ready to send. I stopped by the cafeteria before I headed to the mail room. I picked out a shiny red apple and placed it on top of the letter. I want her to have it. I need her to know I would make apple pie again for her if I could. They told me I couldn’t mail it and that it would spoil. That’s all I remember.
Now in my room I am told I cannot go outside alone because I would endanger myself and others. The cuts on my arms and glass on the floor must have meant something. Under my pillow I felt a small object poke me. I reached behind me, it was the apple I was going to mail Amelia! I was looking for this all week! It had turned brown now and was starting to rot. I took it to the mirror in front of me and held it up beside me. This apple here. Brown and smashed and ugly now, like me. And it’s mine. They can’t take it away from me. One day I will give it to her and she can make apple pie with it. That’s all I know anymore. Amelia and the apple pies. Everything else is gone. But I guess that’s all I need to have left.
Alaina feels it an honor to become a BARN Member this year and enjoys the privilege of participating in the weekly writing groups that are so welcoming and special. She holds a BA in Theater Arts and an MA in Creative Writing and English. This year she is focusing on getting work published and collaborating with a community of artists virtually through the new and changing landscapes we now share.
About The inspiration for this piece was based on the process of aging. I had been contemplating the loss of my Grandmother lately and the deep love she had for me. The story came to me from a sense of losing the connection we had and a hope to inspire the next generation to cherish the times they have with their loved ones. I had started the first draft from a short writing prompt I wrote a week prior. I wrote this short story in a 45 minute time slot. I did not want to do a long edit or revision because I wanted the work to reflect a character who was very vulnerable and broken.