Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: TEXTING (05/18/17)
- TITLE: (((emma)))
By Ann Grover
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I scrolled to Inbox and hit Enter.
hi, gramma ... it’s emma ... mom gave me her old smart phone ... i can call and text u ... wanna text?
I squinted to read the message on the tiny screen. How do I do this? I hit the Reply button and a blank screen with a flashing curser came up. Ah, the letters on the number buttons. Hunt and peck. Trial and error. Delete delete click click. And more deleting and clicking.
Even that little bit took me fifteen minutes as I figured out how to click click click to find the letters I needed. And the symbols! Oh, my. It would be easier and faster to phone, I think.
I hit Send.
what took u so long?
I’ve never done this before.
What does she mean? Loving our lettuce? Lingering over latte?
laughing out loud
am i what?
Laughing out loud.
no gramma ... it means its funny ... lol
k ... just say k ... k?
gotta go ... ttyl
i <3 u
My head hurt and it took me the rest of the afternoon to figure out “i <3 u.” And when I did, my heart melted. Sweet Emma.
She texted me again that night.
u should get a smart phone ... we could skype or facetime
I didn’t know what either of those things were; they sounded even more complicated than this texting business.
do u have wifi?
I knew I didn’t because it’s something to do with the internet and I didn’t have internet. Or even a computer.
then skype wont work ... u need wifi
i miss grampa. :( do u?
Yes, very much. Every day.
i loved fishing with him
Yes. Me, too.
do u go fishing anymore?
u should ... i wud come w/ u
Yes, we should. That would be fun.
Emma’s grandpa, the love of my life, had passed away a few months before. I missed him desperately. I felt adrift, cut from my mooring. I had my grown children and grands and plenty of activities to keep me busy, but still, I hurt. And here was Emma, all of eleven years old, comforting my heart.
hi, whatcha doin?
Laundry, weeding the garden, baking muffins.
k ... brb
Brb? What was this now? Ten minutes passed.
k ... back ... had 2 let dog out
gotta do hw now ... ugh ... i <3 u ... byes
I love you, too. Bye.
We talked about everything. Her struggles with growing up. My own, at the other end of the spectrum, both of us equally dismayed and confused by our changing selves. Our joys and irritations and the many happenings that filled our days.
Sometimes Emma sent me short texts just to let me know she was thinking of me. I sent her spontaneous messages, too, as I grew accustomed to the abbreviations. I even occasionally succumbed to using lackadaisical grammar. It sure made texting easier.
Hey, Emma ... how r u?
good ... @ ball practice ... up 2 bat ... xxx
K ... have fun ... :) ... xoxoxo
And sometimes, after school,
i got an A on my eng test
I snorted at that and smiled, glad that her texting “skills” hadn’t affected her mastery of literature and grammar.
Good 4 u !!!
math test tomorrow ... fun fun ... not ... ;)
U can do it!
hope so ... lol ... gotta study ... ttyl
Eventually, I did get a smart phone and even Wi-Fi, but it was too late to Skype or Facetime with Emma. When she was 13, she died of leukemia, after a brief and fervent fight. I thought my heart would fracture.
I found that old flip phone in a drawer the other day. I dusted it off, and out of curiosity, I charged it up and turned it on. How was it possible that such a tiny screen could hold so many memories of such an enormous love? And be a source of joyful anticipation with every ping ping it had ever chimed out?
I scrolled down to Messages, then Inbox. Emma’s last message to me.
Monday, April 20 9:48 pm
nite ((((gramma)))) ... i <3 u ... ttyl
Precious Emma, I <3 u 2. C u soon.
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