Does she miss me?

A creative writing exercise I found on http://fictionwriting.about.com/od/writingexercises/ss/handsexercise_2.htm.

Her hands were somewhat withered. You could see the veins on them and her ring finger and pinkie did not extend fully. These two were always a little bent. They had a lot of work done. Healed a huge number of people when she was working as a nurse, touched hundreds of lives when she helped women give birth as their midwife, injected many with healing medicine and took blood from myriads of patients, raised three girls, three grandchildren, cooked thousands of meals, washed clothes with soap, detergent, bleach, planted trees, vegetables, caressed cats and dogs, touched only one man sensually, bathed her mother and offspring, sewed and knitted for her children and home, washed dishes in basins and rarely placed plates or dirty cups in dishwasher, did crossword puzzles, held onto a cane, clutched my hand. Then, they felt cold. Veins were barely visible. All the power they held was washed away.

I remember very well the way she held my hand when we went to another city. She had become less independent and her trips to the world outside her home had diminished. She would either be exhausted to complete the trip or faint and end up with a huge bruise on her body from the impact of her fall. So when we traveled inter-city to visit my cousin freshly turned dad everyone was worried. I wasn’t. Maybe because I was not quite aware of her condition and failed to see how weak she had gotten or maybe because I was confident in our strong grip of each other. During our stay at my cousin’s, once she had enjoyed holding her great grand daughter for the day and it was time for the baby’s nap, we went sightseeing through the city. We walked and walked. And every once in a while, we sat down to check a dress, to have tea, to try out a café famous for its desserts but never to rest. I remember how she held my hand. How we held each other. I found love and comfort, she found strength and confidence. That is probably why when we returned home and her Alzheimer’s worsened, she began talking about our journey over and over with the same words. Sometimes with a few embellishments borrowed from other memories. In the end, the journey we went on turned out to be a journey she could not forget, one of the last adventures she would ever find the strength to embark on. A journey that reminded me how I used to feel when she held me when I was just a toddler.

It was like being far from all civilization, all responsibilities, all guilt, all sadness, all gloom and desolation. Being there, one could forget about any worries they may have had before and any anxiety that may perturb their dreams. The ground under my bare feet could carry away all insecurity. The sun shined in me, not above me and the water could penetrate through me, cleansing my body and mind. This was the serenity I felt in her care. I wonder if I ever managed to give her such peaceful sentiments? I wonder if my grandmother misses me…

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