She smiled at the bird feeder outside her window. A bird-watching bicycle tour had brought Bill to her father’s farm. He slept in the barn, and in the morning, she’d fried him an egg. He came calling five more times before she finally confessed that she didn’t know how to cook anything except fried eggs. He’d kissed her, audaciously, right there in the kitchen, and told her he loved fried eggs as much as he loved her.
A gentle hand on her shoulder turned her thoughts from that first kiss. A girl leaned in to peck Gramma Dee’s cheek.
Gramma Dee blinked. “You’re Susan, right?” The girl nodded. Gramma Dee put her hand over Susan’s. “Sweetheart, Bill’s bird feeder…”
Susan nodded then she leaned close to Gramma Dee’s right ear. “Jessie’s gone to get some seed.”
Gramma Dee smiled and looked out the window again. “Bill must have loved those birds, because he visited so much,” she chuckled, but the girl was gone.
She eased her rickety body upright and walked her fingers across a low cabinet to her chair. She sagged into its comforting embrace, pulling her blanket over her bare legs. She picked up the newspaper to check the date. It seemed like her memories all happened an impossibly long time ago. Still here, she thought to herself.
A smiling girl set a fried egg down on her table.
“Oh,” Gramma Dee chortled, “Who told you I liked fried egg?”
The girl smiled broadly. “You did.”
Gramma Dee frowned for a moment, puzzled. Then she looked at the girl again. “You’re Susan, aren’t you?”
The girl nodded. “I’m Jessie’s wife.”
“Oh, yes,” Gramma Dee bobbed her head. Jessie was her favorite grandson. Susan seemed like a lovely wife for him. She smiled a lot and she could fry an egg. “Did you know my husband Bill? He loved fried eggs. He told me so once in the kitchen.” Susan nodded, patted Gramma Dee’s hand, and got up to clear the dishes.
Gramma Dee’s eyes eyes followed her out, stopping to rest on Bill’s picture on the old cabinet. He wore a helmet at a jaunty angle on a Pacific beach somewhere. They’d married just two weeks before he shipped off to war. Their daughter was born nine months and ten days after the wedding, but it had taken two months for the happy news to reach Bill. “Sure Shot” she’d written on the picture and he’d laughed as he proudly showed his buddies. When he returned a year later, they had never parted again. She sighed. Still here, she thought to herself.
She stood and slowly followed her fingers back to bed. She pulled the blankets up, closed her eyes, and offered a little prayer that she might never open them again.
Kit Fox lives in New England and spends her days panicking about whatever is not being done while she’s doing something else. We assure you, it’s all really quite funny once you get to know her.