Short Story Preview: Blue on Blue – Sue Hampton
Seventy-five years old and a newbie! I decided, as I walked from the station, that I liked that. I could hear my tiddler, Walter, giving the game
away the previous Christmas: “Grandma, what are you up to now?”
Why it had taken all those years of paid-up membership for me to make it there in body rather than spirit, I couldn’t have explained. It was just a
weekend and the setting was beautiful. I only hoped nobody was waiting for me at that very moment in some café or committee meeting, because double bookings had become my speciality, much to the family’s exasperation at times. Whatever, as the teenagers would say; it felt good to be close. The rain had cleared and the sun was so warm I almost wished I’d clicked on the camping option, ignoring the sensible voice that liked to remind me of the passage of time since I’d been under canvas and the stiff knees that might hold me captive in a tent. But not the cancer I’d outlived. It was Jen and Frannie who never let me forget that, as if the lost breast and the chemo had left me wispy and brittle too. The two of them had a habit of questioning the ‘wisdom’ of everything, especially the A word: activism. “I shan’t be getting arrested,” I’d told them, “not this weekend anyway.” And of course I understand the way people sidestep, just for functioning’s sake. But they know it’s for them, and the grandchildren most of all.
I could have answered Walter’s question with, “Trying to spare you, my darling, and others like you, who haven’t trashed this beautiful Earth.” Not yet anyway. But he’d just turned three, bless him. Never knew his grandfather; only two out of seven ever heard my Jack sing, “Hooray and up she rises!” as he lifted them up and over his head. There was something about June skies and scents that always reminded me of the burial, of losing Jack too soon. I’d been living for many decades with the expectation of sadness marbling through the beauty and I liked to think it no longer hurt – any more than autumns lost to winter, or blue skies cleared for rain.