Alas, I fell of the #Scintilla13 wagon! The Scintilla Project prompt for Day 12 that inspired my story is “Those that went before us have walked paths that we may never fully understand. Talk about a time when you learned something important about your family history.”
He had only two siblings, I knew that, who was the third one in the picture? “A cousin”, he said, and I believed him. Perhaps this was a cousin that spent a lot of time with the family, lived or studied nearby. Perhaps that’s why she was in every other photograph of the family… but what of her parents and brothers or sisters? “Only two half-brothers and a step-mother”, I was told. What about them then? Were there no pictures? My questions were only met with silence.
And then there was the matriarch. Unforgiving and critical, her sharp tongue and even sharper cane made up for her shortness in her physical stature. I was told she kept this cane on a high shelf, and her children swore she would grow an inch taller just to be able to get it down when they had been up to no good. I was often told by family members that I reminded them of her, but, truth be told, I was afraid of her more than the others were… Until I discovered that she had brought in the fourth one, the one without family in the photographs, the victim of petty family issues. And then I heard of the illness. The one with the diagnosis that had everybody sit down with their heads in their hands, a bad gesture for the believing, while she scoffed at them and her six-month deadline, and continued to live for over thirty years more. This didn’t change her unforgiving and critical nature. Neither did the fall in the kitchen. She could still charge about the house on a walker just fine. No sir, she was still unforgiving and critical, but her stories hid her faults and changed my fear of her into pure respect and awe, and humble pride that I should remind family members of her, even five years after her passing.