Image: BadseedBy Lily Mulholland
Jessie scraped at the verdigris on the bronze art deco sculpture with her thumbnail. Visiting granddad was like going to a museum, only this time she could touch. She traced her fingers along the objets d’art stuffed into every spare space in the large walnut bookcase. Her granddad was a fossicker and collector, born between world wars, when reusing and recycling weren’t the latest fad but a simple matter of survival. She had never respected his need to keep everything, just in case. A kid of the disposable generation, she sneered at his frugality.
Jessie remembered the time she’d been messing with granddad’s prized crystal set. He had picked it up at an estate sale and, when he discovered it wasn’t working, pulled it apart, fixing it with patience and determination. Strictly forbidden to touch it, she had dared one day when he wasn’t looking -- a resin knob came off in her hand. Having never confessed, she still felt the guilt.
Her mum came out of the main bedroom, her face raw with emotion. Jessie was shocked – Sarah had always been stoic, her father’s daughter.
‘You’d better go in,’ said Sarah. ‘There’s not much time.’
Jessie stepped into the room, the bed was as she remembered, but the bedside tables had been replaced by beeping, whirring machines. The nurse sat on a low chair near the wall, not looking up from her knitting.
Settling upon the bed, Jessie took the dying man’s hand, cradling it in hers.
‘I’m sorry granddad,’ she whispered.
‘I broke your radio.’
This week's #fridayflash story is a slightly modified version of an entry into Every Day Fiction's String of 10 Two contest. (It didn't win, clearly!)