I wrote this short practice piece a few months back from a situational idea offered for an online writing contest. I tried it and wrote the following. I was weary to mail it in however, afterall it was an online gig.
So, I am including it here.
*disclaimer: unpublished,do not copy.
Situation- A character walks into the kitchen and notices something that should not be on or at the kitchen table. What is it?
Her name is Gerdi, and she is a 76 year old widower, mother of two and grandmother of four.
Why do I tell you her history, because it is her past that she cannot recall.
She was diagnosed with Alziemers and has trouble understanding why every time she sits down to eat dinner at the kitchen table there is something there that shouldn’t be, and it is a family.
For it is at this very moment, every day at precisely 6:30 p.m. she finds herself surrounded by the same four people who at no other point in the day did she recognize.
Once the clock ticked past the half hour mark and she was seated at the table, it was like she was treated to a reunion with them, these familiar strangers her mind had misplaced during the day and again mysteriously after leaving the table.
These four people delighted her. At first, when she noticed them , she felt startled but now she found amusement in their ways.
The woman she would bond with during these dinners (and came to recall) was her only daughter. Gerdi thought she was the oddest of the four. She was always on her feet serving everyone and peering over her mothers shoulder, asking ‘ mom, do you need anything, more milk or second helpings perhaps’.
Gerdi would just giggle and say, ‘ sit down dear, you are making my head spin for God’s sake’.
Then there was the large, dark eyed gentlemen who sat across from Gerdi, gazing at the newspaper. He was so very quiet and reminder her of a panda bear because of his very wide and circular eyes. Eyes that gazed at her with love and made her feel safe.
Her daughter loved this man deeply, which became obvious to her each night around this time. The two shorter and much louder people who always showed up this time of the day, she came to recall as her twin grandsons. She got the biggest kick out of them because it was these two boys who reminded her of her past. 'Ah, grams, don’t you remember the day you yelled at us for running on your carpet after you had tidied it with your rake', or the one she found most interesting was, 'Grams, I am the one who called papa at work and told him to get home because you fell and broke your hip'.
It was comments like this that made Gerdi feel human again and happy that she could still give her family memories to chuckle about and laughter to giggle through as they bonded once again.
After she took her final bite for the evening, laid her fork on her plate, and excused herself from the table (as she retired to bed) she looked back over her shoulder and said the only thing that made sense to her now, ‘same time, same place tomorrow’, as she raised her hand in acknowledgment.
As she left the room, her daughter, son-in-law and grandsons exchanged the same knowing looks as was done each time grandma excused herself for the night.
You see come morning, Gerdi will have forgotten. And, this part of the day was hard for everyone. But, these people who sat by her side every night for dinner, knew that come 6:30 p.m., for some unknown reason Grandma would return not only to the kitchen table , but to her family for one whole hour.
You see, it was the same kitchen table that her very own husband had hand carved out of barn wood 50 years ago. It was this kitchen table that she and the love of her life ate their first meal together from, and this very table where they celebrated many anniversaries.
So, even though Gerdi has a bad memory, her senses are in tack and her spirit remembers the feel of her family.
Knowing this, it makes perfect sense why, then, when Gerdi enters the kitchen for dinner each night, her soul remembers the one thing her memory does not and that is the years of love she had surrounding that table.
The family that sits at it each night, in her mind, does not belong there, but it is love that brings her home.