A name for all things

556 words total
98.19% of words within GSL
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 2.89
Flesch Reading Ease Level: 93.47
My grandma could give a name to anything.  On the corner of the one small park near my house, there was a strong looking walnut tree.  My grandma always hit its trunk and called it ‘Big Daddy Caramel’.  Soon, so did everyone else.  One summer, a great cloud of butterflies landed in the empty lot behind our house.  A few hours later they flew off, leaving one behind.  One bright orange butterfly with round wings.  My grandma called it ‘Little Lost Tomato-Chan’.  Even now, when I walk through a summer garden, I wonder if that butterfly ever found its way home.

My grandma was old before I was born.  Her hair was silver.  Her eyes were light blue with a touch of white here and there.  But I never thought of her as old.  She called me ‘Sugar’, ‘Spring a Whistling’, and ‘Bitter Tea’.  Whatever name she used, it was always right.  The right name for how I was feeling deep on the inside.

My mother was a nurse.  She was a good nurse.  She came home at night and could hardly stand.  She worked for 16 hours in a row.  And my grandma called her ‘Keep on Walking’ and ‘Cheer Full of Empty’.  But sometimes it was all too hard.  On those days my mother came home and went right to bed.  Sometimes she didn’t even say hello to me or my grandma. She just pulled the covers to her chin like a curtain coming down on her day.  On those nights, my grandma would sit next to my mother’s bed.  She would stroke my mother’s hair. She didn’t call my mother any fancy names.  She just called her ‘Baby’ and my mother would cry and fall asleep.

The only name my grandma gave I didn’t like was to my first boyfriend.  She called him ‘Mr. World Of Trouble’.  She said it right to his face.  He was a big boy with almost no brains.  He got so mad, I thought he was going to hit my grandma.  But he just walked out of the house.  And I stopped seeing him.  He ended up killing two men in a bank robbery.  He sure was Mr. World of Trouble.

When my grandma was 84 years old, she got sick.  The doctors tried to find out what was wrong with her.  They checked her heart.  They checked her lungs.  But she got thinner and thinner.  Her skin was so pale you could see right through it.  She was in the hospital for three days and her breathing got soft, like falling snow.

The day she died, she was talking to me. The sunlight was falling into the room like a promise. My grandma was telling me how the doctors were all wrong.  For a while she had been lost.  She hadn’t known how to put a name to what was happening to her.  But she had had some time to think about it.  Time to think about her life.  84 years of life.  And she had a name for this thing that was happening to her now.  She looked at me, little spots of white floating like a hint of something far away in her eyes.  ‘Cracked Tea Cup Full of Joy’ she whispered to me.  The secret name of the slow goodbye that is life.


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