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Hannah Consuelo

United States

Journalism, Poetry & Short Stories
It all starts with a little bit of truth- writing about life far away and life close to home, the ordinary and the great.

Message from Writer

make sense out of the senseless & vice versa

Aged~ stone elephants

August 3, 2015

FREE WRITING

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    She's telling a story to her Grandma, about school. Nobody is really listening, we know she only instigated the grandparent/child check-in out of obligation, a minimalist effort to preserve their expected roles and the age that defined eachother's every move and interaction. 
    So I turn to the wall, and he turns to the screen, nodding when a nod was needed, interjecting a comment or two if we felt so compelled. He may have been old, and I may have been young, but we both knew the end to this story.
    I turn my attention away from the people and towards the less complex array of inanimate objects displayed on the table infront of me. 
    "This is cool," I say, as he exhales a cloud of cigarette smoke across the room, and point to the plant pot sitting between us. It consisted of two elephants, carved out of stone. They faced opposite directions, a rope looped around their tusks that they both tugged away from the center, where the nearly dead plant grew. 
    He chuckles, "It is, isn't it," and looks at it with me. His wife goes on talking, his son goes on nodding, and us two, one head of patched grey and the other of long blonde, sit and watch stone elephants, waiting patiently for one to upset the balance. 
    "Neither of them have seem to won," he tells me, or himself in a hushed voice, as to not distrupt the competition. He laughs again, I smile, and with nothing left to talk about, we both turn away.
    He lights another cigarette while I start my slice of birthday cake. I hear his wife advise the young birthday boy, "Watch out, soon that number will be 31 instead of 13 and you won't even realize how much time has gone by." The parents mumble in agreement. 
    I knew their grandma was strong, she played about every sport in college and still worked the garden, but as she lay down in that chair, body covered in wool blanket, I began to wonder how it would feel to be so close to dying. How do you choose to spend the little time that is left? Without work or school, how often is your mind simply left to simmer in its own thoughts of years ahead and years behind? How often does regret creep into your bed at night, only to wake you up to a time that will never, ever stop for you? The paintings on the walls seem to be holding most of the answers. 
    If only someone had the time to decipher the colors into words, disfigure the black shadows that once served as the painter's mirror. 

If we had more time, more time.
Was there ever a more popular request? 

    "Nobody has ever looked at my paintings for so long before," An exhale of cigarette smoke awakens me from my trance. The previously unmoved old man was now grinning, almost secretly, and was looking straight into my utterly surprised blue eyes, matched with a now stretched, wrinkle-lacking complextion. 
    "You painted them?" I ask, trying to trace the face that the sky colors and tree shadows belonged to. He nods, and asks me, "do you paint?" 
    "Yes," I tell him. "I paint, but I haven't for a while."  

If only I had more time, more time. 

He smiles, I could tell this man had picked battles, but the one against time for certain had not ended. I wonder what day it began. He coughs, cigarette dancing precariously between two fingers. 

    "Don't worry," exhale, "I am still figuring out who I am." 

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