Monday, April 09, 2012

Real Toads Challenge: "Ready Or Not"

Thanks to Maid Marian at Runaway Sentence, I learned about the fine folks at Real Toads, who issue, you'll never guess, prompts for writerly inspiration. The inspiration is Vic Chestnutt's song "Granny", and this piece is called "Ready Or Not"

I kept thinking, "it's too soon." It wasn't too soon. When it happens, it happens. There isn't any real age when it's time to, exactly. People try to say that there's an ideal age for it, and there probably is, but once you're in it, you're in it. It's too late to cry about it, but you often do that anyway.

I had whipped up some snacks, little finger foods like pizza rolls and crab puffs along with some potato chips and sodas. Simple stuff, easy and quick, but in all honesty, all I could afford and all I had time for. I laid it all out as people started to arrive, then basically stood out of sight as she opened gifts and oohed and aahed and fluttered about.

There was a lot of fluttering, raised voices and animated conversation. I tried to stay out of the way, but our small living space quickly filled with her friends, filling our apartment with skinny jeans and fashionable boots. My daughter was the first or second girl she knew to get pregnant, which made a visual contrast, all their flat bellies and tight shirts making her swollen form stand out.

When you have children, you learn before anything else that it is no longer about you. You share your body with them, and then they are this separate entity, but they never really leave you. Every defeat wounds you, every heartbreak punches you in the gut. I watched her socialize, laughing and letting them rub her belly, and I thought about all the versions of her I had known. I wanted to yell out that this cannot be, that this is all happening too fast, that the little girl who stamped her foot when her shoes wouldn't stay tied can't be old enough to have a child.

I left her to her crowd, and went back into the kitchen. The red wine I had poured for myself was still half full. I brought it to my lips and swallowed. I'm not ready to be a grandmother, just like I wasn't ready to be a mother. But just like the first time, it's coming at me full speed, ready or not.


  1. michael, how did i miss this? it's for my prompt! i apologize.
    and also? it is gorgeous. absolutely beautiful truthiness. sigh.

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