One Less Reader

I left the preceding page blank, as if in hopes that one day, in time, I may go back to it. Like a detective, or a genealogist, or Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade, taking a pencil to the page to find out what I’d really written there. The page before that had been written upon the last letter to my grandmother—something sentimental that she would never read—one last hurrah, an unheard prayer that I was incapable of uttering when she was alive.
I may have asked her forgiveness for not loving her enough when she still graced this earth, but her grace on the subject was enough on the topic; she’d not have wanted us to make a fuss over her, even at a half-hour’s drive away. It was hard to bring myself to see her when it reminded me so much of my grandfather. Unable to hold a coherent conversation (or speak coherently, for that matter) or even remember who I was. Maybe seeing her more often would have remedied that situation.
But in all my frailties, and hers, I opened this special notebook to write that last letter. Columns compact, like some sort of businessman’s ledger, red lines adding and subtracting the efforts made towards the writing craft. The words “Manual Control Log” donned the cover, though unsure as to what was being logged or controlled. Certainly not the writing. Five years and I still hadn’t filled this book.
The aforementioned grandfather, though this on my father’s side, once kept the log as some part of his employment on the railroad. The grandmother that had just passed was of my mother’s kin, yet she also had a husband who worked on the railroad, all the live long day. My father had as well. I did not continue the tradition and chose the path of the self-flagellating writer.
This notebook was part of “the story” in some weird fashion that made its way to the page as a distant cousin, removed from the kernel of truth of an idea, sprouting where I least expected it to, certainly not where I thought I’d planted it. I wrote about that to my grandmother, that this journal represented the inspiration that substituted it for that of my protagonist’s mother, and, just like hers (and my real-life grandmother) made every effort to be like her and his father, to emulate them, and for them to live in the words which he would one day write.
I was all too much for me, moments before the service began, to make sense of the last thing I would write to her. I was too busy philandering my pride, fondling my muse, trying to connect dots which may not even be there, to make it about her: it always circles back to me, so it does.
I asked her to put in a good word for me when she got there, to ask The Man Upstairs to show me how to do this because I already knew the story. Just to see how it all panned out because I couldn’t do it alone, and now there was one less person to pass it along to.


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