My Nonnie’s Hands *Short Story*

The city lights flickered outside my New York bedroom. The noise of traffic hummed with honks and engines. I walked over to the window and felt the city spring breeze. I was lucky to find an apartment so close to the park. Pink cherry blossoms drifted into my room and laid on the hardwood floors at the bottom of my white curtains. I smiled. It was time for me to begin getting ready for bed. I closed the window, turned on my humidifier and began washing up for bed. After I had a clean face, clothes and braided hair, I sat on my comforter with a cup of tea and my script for work. Somehow I landed a full time part from a back ground roll and it was an exciting and terrifying new venture. I knew this was the beginning of my dreams coming true, they had come true but I was still terrified. My phone didn’t blink with any messages, my instagram was still a one horse town with a tumble weed blowing threw it and there was no one I was even excited to tell about this opportunity. No one even knew.  Each line I spoke differently, laughing with myself and making it a silly moment of creation and fun. When I believed I had a good handle on what I wanted to practice in the morning before work, I tucked myself into bed to let my subconscious take over. Quickly, from the tiresome and joyful adventure of moving to New York City in one day, I fell quickly into sleep.

In my dream I walked into a coffee shop in my old home town. It was the coffee shop I usually went to write poetry and fule my love/hate relationship with a judgmental barista. Today he decided my outfit was appropriate. He was vocal about when he didn’t believe I looked my best. As I was walking in, I saw hair as beautiful as Farrah Fawcett and twice as beautiful. Good thing I hadn’t ordered my coffee yet because I dropped my wallet right onto the floor. The Gucci clothes, the beautiful down to earth natural disposition, the youthful glow in an old age, you could hardly tell her age. It was my Nonnie.

My mother worked a lot, my father had left, it would have been such a lonely world if she hadn’t stepped up. All of her phone calls after school, all of the times she let me call her from a panic attack as a child in the middle of the night, she was always there, guiding, protecting and involving herself. It was the most loved I had ever felt. With her, I never had to be anything other than who I was and it was enough. She was the only person I ever felt that way with. She died when I was eleven. The worst part, I was on the bus home and I was listening to a song titled “What Hurts the Most” by the Rascal Flats and I asked myself, what would hurt me more than anything? I knew it would be loosing her. As I walked home from the bus that day I walked inside to see people standing waiting for me before I could get to the phone, and then my mother crying. I was too late. I discovered what would hurt me more than anything and I couldn’t do anything to stop it. I couldn’t even say goodbye.

Then her she was, as light hearted and happy as I remembered her, turning towards me with the sun peaking through her blonde hair. She was talking with someone when she spotted me and excused herself. She walked over to me and asked me challantly “Can I buy you a coffee?”

All I could say was, “Yes.”

We sat down at a coffee table and before I could talk she grabbed my hands. Then she began talking before I could speak.

“I’m so proud of you but your going to fail as an actress.” She said.

“What? Why do you say that?” I asked stunned she traveled from the afterlife to tell me that.

“Because there is an empty space in your heart where you should be.” She replied.

“I don’t understand.”

“After I passed, you had no one to talk to, you withdrew even more, I wasn’t there to support you. When I died you held on to dear life to me, it was like your loss became your identity.”

“Its normal to be sad when you lose someone you care about.” I said.

“Yes but you’ve held on for too long. Think about it. You need to let go. There is so much empty space where new people belong, people who will love you the way I did. You’ll only be a successful actress if you let me go.”

I could feel a tear roll down to my chin. “But I don’t want to let you go. Ever. Not you.” I said trying not to cry.

My Nonnie wiped a tear from my cheek. “You can’t keep living in the past or think your life is only worth what you’ve lost. There is so  much more out there for you, don’t half-live for it. i want you to be fully there.”

I nodded. “You know I cried for weeks when I stopped being able to remember your voice? And every time a good movie or song came out I felt so bad because I wish you were here for it. I even used to hope this was all a mistake, that one day you would reappear and be some kind of secret agent that faked her own death.”

“Angels see everything but mostly we see the hearts of people, its how we guide them.” My Nonnie gathered my hands in heres. “It’s time for you to live.”

Then she faded away from me and I sat alone in a coffee shop.

When I woke up, there was a weight lifted up off my shoulders. I opened up the window to start my day and the cherry blossoms all faded and left the branches. Summer was finally here.

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