Thursday, August 6, 2009

How Memories Are Made

The little girl holds her grandmother's hand tightly. They cross the street but it is so wide they only make it to the meridian in the middle. Cars rush by, horns honk and people run across zig zagging between moving cars. The grandmother seems confused by all the noise. She looks around as though lost and cannot focus. The little girl begins to feel frightened. She doesn't know the way home. But she begins to recognize some of the landmarks and takes stock, just in case. There is the red church across the street and the tree that stands on the corner is one she has seen before. Looking around some more, she sees the curve in the street where the bus stops. She waits for her grandmother to cross the other half of the road with her and then she starts to pull her towards that bus stop. The grandmother is licking her lips now, gazing intently into the distance as though trying to see something beyond the horizon. The little girl chirps up that once they are on the bus they just have to remember where to get off. The grandmother clutches her purse tightly with her right arm. It is a brown purse with beige stitching and a metal clasp in the middle. The little girl will never forget that purse, not even when she is a grown woman and her poor old grandmother has become a memory. They stand near the curb watching cars zip by them. Eventually the little girl sees the bus in the distance and she tells the grandmother that she should take out her money so they can pay. There are other people waiting in line now and the bus is coming nearer. The grandmother opens her purse and takes out her wallet. She has to let go of the girl's hand to do this. So afraid is the little one of losing sight of her that she grabs a fistful of her elder's skirt in her sweaty little hand. The bus approaches, stripped gears making a horrible noise, belching black smoke behind it. The little girl and her grandmother board last after everyone else in order for the girl to stay close to the driver so that she can ask him to stop if she recognizes their street. Someone rises and offers his seat to the grandmother and smiles at the girl. The door finally closes and the driver makes the bus shudder forward, back into the traffic, back where they had come from, the little girl still clutching her grandmother's skirt.

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