Grandma Jane

The long white candles are not scented. They hardly smell of wax. I try
to catch any aroma as two of them sit in my lap time and time again when
Mom and I drive to the cemetery. It’s just the two of us as I take the gold lid
off the dusty red cylinder, replacing the burned-down wick with another scentless
pot of marbled wax. I think of the night Mom only took me, not my two brothers,
or my father, to the stale-scented hospital room after she told me you were dying,
that you were waiting to see me. The ghostly sheets were scentless, too, where
we sat together for the last time. Your white hair mixes with the tv glow from
Nickelodeon, the last time I would see your red velvet slippers by the foot of your
bed, the one’s with the embroidered roses, but it wouldn’t be the last time I would
think of them, and laugh while I remember how you tell the family over and over
again how your name isn’t really Jane Eliza. How the embroidering matched your
“real” name, “Rose” Jane. You weren’t fooling any one, Busia, when you told me you
were comfortable, your soft hand squeezed mine good-bye. Not a day later we were
ordering endless amounts, those odorless candles I place beside your grave every
month while Mom pours water into honey-sweet daisies above your head.

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