I have once again failed to deliver a post before the close of the weekend. We must both be punished with fiction Monday.
Granny Neumann Goes Skateboarding
“James Francis Neumann. I am not getting on that skateboard.”
“Oh, come on Grams. Just for a second. I want to Snapchat it.”
“I don’t understand the words you’re saying, Jimmy, and I’m not getting on the skateboard.”
“Snapchat is a site I share pictures with my friends. It’s cool. Aunt Cindy’s on there too. But my skateboard is the most lit birthday gift ever, Grams. I gotta get a snap. Please?”
“Oh, Jimmy. Come here and give your granny a kiss. I’ll just stand on it for a second if you hold me, but if I fall and break a hip, it’s coming out of your college fund.”
Granny Neumann stood at the top of her driveway in a pink quilted housecoat and slippers. She did up her hair that morning otherwise she wouldn’t even considered letting Jimmy take her picture.
“Jimmy, you need to let me see it before you send it anywhere. I don’t want an ugly picture of me where the whole world can see it. But let’s hurry, I need to get the cake out of the oven in a minute.”
“OK, Grams. You got it. Stand right here. I’m going to crouch down. You can get behind me, put your hands on my shoulders, then just step up on the board. I’ll take our picture and, BAM, we’re done. Ready? Now step up. Good. Bend your knees a little and it’ll feel more stable. Perfect. Wow. You’re a natural, Grams. Let me check if we’re both in the shot. Good. Shit. My hair looks awful.”
“Don’t swear Jimmy.” She smacked his head. That small motion like a butterfly kiss set her rolling. “I’m moving. Jimmy, I’m moving!”
Bright spring days like today always warmed up the driveway. Over the years, her children and grandchildren had been drawn here to play because the radiant warmth kept the spring chill from cutting too deep. That play had resulted in more skinned knees than she could remember. Most of the time, the crying little ones would find her in the kitchen and she’d kiss them and take them to the hall closet where she kept the band-aids and iodine. Sometimes she would see them fall. When that happened, there was an instant before their skin hit the pavement when she experienced their pain. Her body remembered. When she had been called Betty instead of Granny, she’d fallen while skipping rope. She sat in the dirt, hiked her knife-pleated skirt to her thigh and pull her leg up to kissing distance. For a moment, her knee would look like her scuffed saddle shoes and she would begin to tingle. Tingles would shoot from her calves through her lady parts and into her belly. Then the blood would well up like hundreds of tiny red rain drops.
She felt tingles now. The texture of the concrete looked like the grater she used on nutmeg and she hoped her iodine bottle was full.
Granny Neumann’s speed increased as she caroomed toward the end of the driveway. She reeled her arms in a desperate attempt to keep her balance. The Nelson’s trash cans on the curb across the street loomed and she headed right for them.
“Grams. Bend your knees and head for the grass.”
Granny Neumann bent her knees and wanted to scream, “I’d don’t see any grass. All I see is concrete. Heavens to Betsy! How do I get off of this thing?.” but all that came out was, “Aaaaaaaaaaaaa.”
She turned slightly avoiding the cans, clicked up the inch into the Nelson’s driveway and felt the board stop as it hit the edge of the grass. After she rolled over and checked her knees for blood, (there was none) her mind didn’t record with the sharp clarity that marked her ride.
Granny Neumann didn’t remember landing like an albatross or smushing face first in the Nelson’s freshly manured flower bed. She didn’t remember stalking back toward Jimmy with her hands on her hips and a cow-pied face, shouting, “You better not be taking my picture. You put that phone down young man.” Granny Neumann didn’t need to remember because three days and 1.4 million hits later, she learned what it meant to go viral.