I’m looking forward to winter, but also dreading the cold. Though the anxiety of stepping on a bee in the clover filled lawn would be gone, at least for a few months. I spent my whole childhood in this garden, learned to walk over by the tiny pond and had grandpa there to catch me before I could tumble in. Now, with no one there to stop me from falling, I feel little again, even though the only thing getting hurt now would be my dignity.
Grandma makes sure that all the flowers are happy, but the tall trees are suffering with no one to care for them. The self-driving lawnmower doesn’t do what it’s supposed to, and it also doesn’t sound like the giant diesel-fueled mower grandpa would push around in carefully planned out lanes while I watch from the porch with an ice cream in hand.
The house is different now, too. I miss the soft carpet under my feet. The steps on the cold hardwood floor sound harsh and haunting. Haunted, is the basement. Not by music long past that made me feel safe and content, no. Haunted by the smell of fresh wood and sawdust that filled my nose when I stood in front of the workbench that is now old and rotten. Splinters also didn’t used to hurt, when I had someone there to laugh about them with me and tell me that my skin will get thicker with time.
My mother said that he had finally learned how to be a father when I was born – his first grandchild – and that he made up for a lot of missed time with his children by being a grandfather. It even feels as if he had part in raising me. He was there helping me explore the world, was my impulse control when I was reckless. He would listen, and laugh, and love.
Now, he’s still listening, I think. Though I don’t know if he understands me. He’s been gone for a while now, though his body remains, as well as rare, fleeting moments of clarity. I missed the opportunity to say goodbye; I had a lot to say. So maybe, in winter, he might finally find peace; and I can finally let go.
Yara is currently doing their Master’s in English Literature and Cultural Studies in Vienna. They love to be creative in any form, have a student job in the costume department of a theatre, and only recently replaced the paintbrush with a pen and started writing more regularly. Publishing something seems like a huge step as their writing is usually very personal, but encouragement from Professors and friends helped them overcome the anxiety about bearing their heart to strangers.