FLARE: The Flagler Review Spring 2018

Page 48

Ending Up Nicole Sharp


ou end up this way. Not quite sure of the man standing next to you, the man you sleep next to every night, whose snoring has kept you awake for the last fifty-two years.

You end up this way, embarrassed to smile because during the

early years, you couldn’t afford dental work for yourself, only for your children.

You end up this way, trying to be patient when your grandson

asks you to “say cheese”, as he aims the lens on his fancy phone that stores the pictures in a place you don’t understand. How do you understand this young man who is constantly on that tiny phone that looks like a toy?

My grandson shows me the pictures on a tiny screen. I yearn

to tell him that isn’t me in that picture. It couldn’t possibly be me. Instead, I pat his hand and thank him.

His new wife is with him. She’s blonde, wears nice clothes. Uses

the tips of her painted fingers to pick up something she dropped in the dirt. I want to laugh at her, but don’t. She nervously cheeps like a meek bird and asks me how my husband and I managed to stay together so long?

How do I tell this perfectly made up girl that it takes a lot of

hard work; that you have to get your hands dirty?

You end up this way; you don’t start out with these intentions.

You end up this way, a stranger among people who call themselves family.

I didn’t start out this way. I didn’t start with this annoying

haunch of my shoulders. The years tried to push me down. The same passing years changed my hair, too. I touch my gray, brittle hair. I didn’t start out this way. 40 • FLARE: The Flagler Review

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