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  • Writer's pictureLinda Nygard

Gammies' Good Night

That morning turned into a horrible day. Horrific and emotional beyond belief. At least for my 13 year old self. My world was littered with disappointments, broken promises and bald-face lies. Everywhere I turned, something was there to slap me in the face. What more could I handle? It’s not every day that your boyfriend dumps you right after your grandmother leaves town for the evening.

Gammie was my heroine and warm lap, all rolled into one. Many a night grandmother would check in on me as the night grew weary. Sliding over, I would make enough room for my Gammie to sit down on top of the blankets, right next to me.

This was our ritual, the end of the day “good night”, our last snuggle of the day. Whatever happened during the day was all worth it, because I could whisper the days secrets to Gammie. My grandmother spoke the most encouraging words to me. She called me her beloved Elenor. No matter how sad I was, she was able to to smooth the tears and slow my fluttering heartbeat.

Grandmother would hold steadfast as my champion, regardless of the words that I uttered at the end of the day.

The new boy had stolen my heart; he also stole from the corner store. Peter would have been taboo in the eyes of my mother. However, my mother was nowhere to be found, so her possible disapproval was inconsequential. All that mattered was Gammie, and her consistent approval of me; that I could do no wrong. She made me feel all important and special, which I needed. I truly had suffered enough with the loss of my mom.

This day. This one significant day started like all the others. My young beau, Peter, greeted me on the corner and was my escort to the small school across town. What changed everything was the words he spoke as we stood out front of the institution. Young Peter looked down into my big brown, innocent eyes and broke my little heart. Just like that. And it was done.

My eyes clouded and filled with fluid as Peter walked away. I was so crushed and broken. Throughout the day I sobbed inconsolably, then somehow I made my way home to bed. As I lay prone, I pulled out the sharp pin that fastened my hair and began to scratch at my left wrist with it until it bled tiny beads of blood. Small droplets that were of little significance, except to reveal the silent scream that was contained in my heart.

Gammie was staying in the next town and would not return until morning. I had wished that somehow my grandmother could magically transport herself, appear before me, and soothe the emotions. Throughout the night I continued to scratch, dripping tiny drops, staining my shirt and sheets. Not enough blood to really matter, at least not to me. What mattered though, was the creation of my first battle scar.

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