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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Memory (07/10/08)

TITLE: Dance With Me
By Glynis Becker


Her entire collection of scrapbooks, save for one, lay scattered over the red plaid blanket lying around Abigail’s knees. No matter that it was late summer, lately she felt chronically chilled, through her skin, down to the bones. She was perpetually seen now wrapped in one of her shabby, well-loved sweaters or this, her favorite wool blanket.

The one album not in the stack was being flipped through slowly, each photograph or newspaper clipping or recital program eliciting a question, or an observation, inviting Abigail to search through her mind’s own journal, to see things again, feel them just as if she were still living that moment.

“Grandma, these photos and clippings are amazing! Did you really dance for the Queen? I mean, could that BE any more awesome?!” Lily’s brown eyes twinkled with reflected glory. How could she have never known her grandmother was famous?

Lily put the one scrapbook back at the end of the sofa, and picked up a different one. “When did you know you were meant to be a dancer? Was it fate?”

“I don’t believe in fate, my dear. I think God places people and moments in our path that help shape us into our selves. Lily, have I ever told you about my Grammy? ”

* * * *

Her footsteps were noiseless on the carpeted stairway. The step-swish of the flannel nightgown around her ankles was the only sound Abigail could hear in the dark. She hoisted the teddy bear up under her arm more securely—Franklin had started to slip and she knew it would scare him if he fell. Her left thumb went into her mouth, although she was quite aware that at age six she was much too big for such a baby-like gesture. But it made her feel a little less frightened and nobody—especially Momma—was around to see it.

When she reached the third step from the bottom, quiet voices finally found the strength to carry far enough that she could hear them. Abigail couldn’t make anything out, but heard the rushing, like water over sandy rocks.

The voices came from Grammy’s room, Abigail knew. Her beloved Grammy was sick and for a week the entire household had chaotically revolved around her care and feeding.

“Mom. Please, say it again. I can’t quite understand you.”

Abigail was now close enough to recognize her momma’s voice.

“Are you talking about Abigail?”

Now she heard Grammy’s voice, dry and thick, so unlike the songbird voice that Abigail loved so much. The voice that happily sang “Be Thou My Vision” and “Greensleeves”, stopping between verses to grab Abigail’s tiny hand and laugh, imploring, “Twirl! Twirl, my little darling!”

But this voice mumbled, incoherent; Abigail could make sense of no more than a phrase or two. When she understood her own name, though, she crept closer to the door, lingering, listening, just outside. Apparently Grammy had already finished what she wanted to say, and so was silent.

Momma fussed a bit in the room, straightening the sheet and fluffing the pillows underneath the spider’s web of hair. And Abigail heard her own Momma answer: “Yes, Mom. Abigail will make a beautiful dancer. Someday you and I can take a trip to New York and see her dance on the stage. Wouldn’t that be lovely?”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sheri Gordon07/20/08
I like the format you used--with the grandmother telling the story of her memories of her grandmother.

The only thing I questioned was the age of young Abigail. Her thought process seemed a little older than six--and I wasn't sure that she would stop and listen outside the door upon hearing her name. (But I haven't had a six-yr-old in a long time.)

Nice job with the topic, and I especially like the way the dancing theme ran throughout.
Chely Roach07/20/08
This was lovely and tender...well done.
Sunny Loomis 07/21/08
Nicely done. Sweet picture of grandmotherly memories.
Joshua Janoski07/24/08
I liked the transition from one grandmother to the next. I thought that you did a good job with this. Even though you didn't use all 750 words, the story and the ending still felt satisfying. Thank you for sharing this.
Helen Dowd07/30/08
Great story. I loved the way you led up to the climax, but carefully left it to the very end...Good strategy...Great storytelling. It's hard to tell a whole story in 750 words, isn't it?...Helen