“Oh, the stories I could tell you,” she used to say, my grandmother, with a twinkle in her eye that told me that those stories would be beyond marvellous.
But she never did. Tell us her stories, that is. She would say that, and then she would look away, at something far in the distance, and she’d make some excuse, like the kettle was boiling, or it was past our bedtime or, oh, look at that bird at the window.
We were young, and easily distracted, and we somehow never noticed that she never told us a single story; not one. Not even the ones we already knew. That was left to my grandfather. To give him credit, he was wonderful at reading stories, he did all the voices and everything, and always read exactly the right story. But, when we thought about it, when we had the chance, we always had the feeling that we had missed out on something.
It wasn’t until they were both gone that we found it, in a box under the bed, growing dusty. It was a big, leather bound notebook with thick plain pages, hundreds of them, almost like linen in texture. My grandmother’s careful writing filled it all, in close, tight lines as if she had always worried about running out of room. I sat there on the floor and I read it all, only pausing when the light failed and I had to move to switch a lamp on.
Oh, the stories I could tell you…
But look at the time! Shouldn’t you be in bed by now?
© Kari Fay