My grandmother and I only had one thing in common. A love of books. Reading was the one area in which we connected.
When we cleaned out her house, the only thing I took with me was a box of well-read paperbacks. As I was going through the box reminiscing over the Nora Robert’s romances and Louis A’more westerns we read together, I came across a book I did not recognize.
It was small, leather-bound, with no title. The familiar smell of roses along with paper and ink is lovely and sad all at once.
It was a journal. Her journal. Each entry written in her familiar chicken scratch handwriting.
July 4, 1953
We kissed in the dark during the fireworks…. I love him…Daddy doesn’t like him….
August 23, 1953
I sneak out to see him…. He’s leaving soon…. I want it to be him…. He promised we will be together forever….
September 8, 1953
He left to go back to college…I’m heartbroken…something isn’t right but I’m not sure….
October 23, 1953
Its been two months, I’m sure of it now….
December 30, 1953
I’m going to have to tell someone soon….
January 1, 1954
They are sending me away…. I haven’t heard from him since August…
May 9, 1954
Something went wrong…. I don’t understand…she’s gone…. I’m not going back home.
June 8, 1954
I’m on my own…. Sally is my roommate and friend…She has a child.
I read for hours, sometimes through eyes blurred with tears, her story spilling out with each turn of the page revealing details no one in the family every knew. As difficult as it was to learn what she went through, it was the final entry that took thebreath from my lungs.
August 20, 1954
Sally’s boyfriend showed up at the apartment drunk and got rough with her. I tried to stop him but ended up with a black eye, so I got out of there. I went back later, and the place was a mess. I found Sally beaten, bloody and cold. I’ve never seen a dead body before. I panicked. I didn’t know what else to do so I took Tiffany, packed everything I could and left. I hope I got everything. I hope they don’t come looking for me or Tiffany. I will make Tiffany my own, raise her myself. I don’t think anyone will know……
I closed the journal, took a slow ragged breath and wiped the tears from my cheeks. My grandparents were married six months after the last journal entry. I don’t know if he knew thetruth, but they both insisted he was my mother’s father. Everyone knew there was something off about their story, a secret she wasn’t telling. When she died, we all assumed whatever it was died with her.
Now I know the truth, yet instead of feeling satisfaction, my heart breaks for her. I take the journal to the sink and light a match.
My grandmother and I now have two things in common.
Josey Bozzo lives in Maryland with her husband of 24 years and loves coffee, the beach and reading. She is an empty nester and wannabe writer who has been dabbling with the written word for the last 10 years. Her current project is a women’s fiction novel. This Flash Fiction piece was written for a creative writing class assignment.