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Thread: His Grandma's Picture

  1. #1
    Registered User Steven Hunley's Avatar
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    His Grandma's Picture

    His Grandma’s Picture


    Grandma loved Anselmo. He was her favorite. His brother and sister she loved, but not in the same way she loved Anslemo, for they were two of a kind. She’d raised him and was with him every second of the day while his mother packaged tortillas in a factory. When their mother returned at the end of a hard day and brought her children tortillas it was his grandmother who would ensure each received their fair share. On those rare occasions when she received her widow’s allotment it was she who buttered the children’s hot tortillas. Later, when she tucked them all in, it was her voice that sang soothing lullabies until they dropped off to sleep.

    Perhaps they possessed the same character. Or it may be because he had the same name as his late grandfather, Enselmo. For whatever reason, perhaps a secret known only to nature, they were as one. It’s hard to say, in a small Mexican village, where people live so close to the earth, how such things are decided, whether by natural causes or man. Certainly, men with their pride take credit for why a person favors one over another.
    Rosalia, his sister two years older, was not favored, and his little brother Juan, though he suffered from the falling sickness which the village doctor named epilepsy, was not favored.

    She loved all three, and protected all three equally with her care. But to Anslemo’s ears alone did she whisper the words,

    “You and I, Nieto, are simpatico.”

    When her time came it was no wonder he suffered. The family showed their grief in various ways. The baby’s seizures increased in frequency. He would pass out, stiffen, then shake like a rattle. Rosalia did badly in school and lashed out at her instructors with unaccountable rage. Anselmo was the worst for it. He withdrew, growing quiet and moody. He would sit and gaze silently at her picture for hours.
    “Where did Grandmother get such a picture?” he asked his father.

    “It was painted by a gypsy. He believed when he finished it, he’d captured your abuela’s spirit in the paint, and tethered it to the canvas with his brush.”

    One night he had been looking at it for some time. There she was as always, his grandmother and protector, when suddenly tears fell from the swirls of paint that were her eyes.

    He ran to his mother’s drawer and took out one of her handkerchiefs. He then asked his father,

    “Can such a thing be?”

    His father was poor as a church mouse, and therefore a man who believed.

    “It is said that at one time the Statue of the Virgin in our church performed such a miracle. Anything, my son, is possible for those who have faith.”

    Anselmo reasoned that the tears were meant for his family because his grandmother missed them, and because she could no longer protect them. Her tears fell many times after that, and wiped the canvas so much the face seemed to glow.
    Spring came and filled the field across the road with wonderful yellow and red wildflowers. Rosalia ventured to pick some for the vase on the kitchen table. Anslemo was nearby and the baby was crossing the road in pursuit of Rosalia. With no warning besides a faint sigh, Juan experienced a fit and fell where he stood on the pavement. Anselmo tried to lift him but it was no use. He shouted for Rosalia but she was too distant. A large truck was approaching and coming straight towards them. It was immense and dangerously close. Anselmo could feel its deadly wheels as they spun and shook the ground, throwing dust to the wind.

    What could he do? His little brother lay like a stone, immovable, inconsequential, unaware of the approaching wheels of death nothing could stop. He lay like a rock, a pile of dirt, some discarded trash on the pavement.
    Like lightning, Anselmo ran to the house, the screen door banging behind him.

    He could hear the wheels of the truck drawing nearer and nearer preparing to strike.

    Anselmo ran out to the road clutching the painting, his face hidden behind the frame, the glowing face of his abuela facing the truck.

    Huge black tires screeched and smoked. The truck, big as it was, slid forward, the tires caught fire, filling the air with burnt rubber, smelling like the brimstone of Hades itself. Rosalia appeared from the field and lifted the baby to safety, dragging his body from the pavement.

    Anselmo, who had stood like a rock now peered over the canvas at the truck.

    The face of his grandmother glowed with her deed.

    By the next week the entire village heard the story. The family reset the painting over the mantel and draped a garland of wildflowers, red and gold, over the frame.
    Sometime later a stranger appeared at the door, hat in hand, asking to see the painting. He came into the room looking nervous, twisting his hat uncomfortably in his hands.

    It was the truck driver.

    He patted all three of the children on the head.

    “Relax,” said Anselmo’s father. “You are with friends. Nothing bad has happened. You hit the brakes just in time.”

    “That’s just it,” the truck driver replied sheepishly, “I did nothing. For some reason the truck stopped itself. I had nothing to do with it.”

    He got down on his knees and gazed at the picture with reverence. He made the sign of the cross quickly over his chest and blessed each of the children in turn under his breath. Having made his peace, he rose to his feet and walked out the door.

    And the picture hung on the wall glowed again like a beacon of faith. Anselmo could see it clearly.

    To him it had always been obvious.

    ©StevenHunley2019

  2. #2
    Registered User tailor STATELY's Avatar
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    Very moving, enjoyed very much

    Ta ! (short for tarradiddle),
    tailor
    tailor

    who am I but a stitch in time
    what if I were to bare my soul
    would you see me origami

    7-8-2015

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