The asphalt baked in the late July heat, sending heat waves skyward. The drought was the worst in years and even the once green fields had withered and died. I remember racing through the corn fields as a child, coming out covered in scratches and filled with joy.
However, like all things, my childhood was short-lived. I grew up and longed for the excitement of a city life. I became a lawyer, top of my class, and moved away from my small town home. My visits home became less and less frequent as my life became busier and busier. It had been three years since my last visit. I was only here now because of my grandmother’s unexpected death.
It caught me by surprise when my mother called to deliver the news. My grandma, the joy of my childhood, was dead and I did not have a chance to say goodbye. I cried that day, a river of tears I feared would not end. I cried for my grandpa and my mom. I cried for my brothers. And finally, I cried for myself–all the lost opportunities and poor decisions.
So here I was, standing in the heat, watching the asphalt bake just because I couldn’t force myself into the funeral home. My brother came up to stand beside me, shoulder to shoulder. He looked uncomfortable, whether from the emotions or the heat I wasn’t sure.
“It’s time,” he said quietly.
I nodded. I still wasn’t sure I could turn around and walk inside. He made the decision for me when he wrapped a comforting arm around my shoulders and urged me around.
“She knew, you know? She was so proud of you. She missed you, hell, we all do, but she was just so proud that you managed to follow your dream. She would talk and talk about her grandson, the big city lawyer with the college degree. She knew how hard the decision was for you and she never begrudged you for it. She knew you loved her,” he said.
Tears dripped down my face. “I know she did, I just wish I was here,” I choked out.
Writing prompts: child, death, asphalt