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She doesn’t remember me. She doesn’t remember those blissful

summer afternoons we used to spend lounging on her porch doing

nothing and just basking in one another’s company. She doesn’t

remember howwe used to have our weekly chess tournaments, when

neither of us really knew how to play at all. She doesn’t remember

how I would tell her everything dwelling on my mind, and she would

tell me everything on hers. She doesn’t remember anything. She

doesn’t even remember my name. Gran doesn’t remember me; to her

I am a stranger. A


. The thought resonates in my head,

bouncing within like an aggravating tennis ball. I cannot grasp what

has happened, I cannot fully comprehend it. My feet pound on the

dirt ground, conjuring billowing clouds of dust, as I fly down the lane

leading toGran’s. Tears streaking downmy face, I struggle to breathe

through my constricted, collapsed lungs. I would give anything to be

here with Gran right now, cheerfully ambling along the lane arm in

arm as we used to.

I reach the familiar bright orange door that represents everything

that Gran is; eccentric, loving, bright, beautiful. Wherever she goes,

happiness and inner beauty seem to radiate from her. I look over to

the array of clay flowerpots Gran had tenderly aligned on the timber

shelf under the curtained windows. Fourth one from the door. I

reach into it, letting my fingers slightly slide through the granular

soil, and grasp the rusty brass key. Gran won’t remember which pot

contains the key, I bitterly think. Such a trivial thing, but knowing

that Gran won’t remember the simple things hurts the most.

Hovering over this thought triggers another cascade of tears. I nudge

the door open, wincing at the screeching creak that reverberates

from the hinges. Taking in all the familiar things before me wrenches

my heart with pain. The delicate china teapot set. The tiny three-

legged stool I used to use when I was little. The worn out rocking

chair in the corner. Gran’s scruffy baby blue slippers.

I blindly make my way into Gran’s room, flinging myself onto her

bed, breathing in the musky scent of her pillow. Burying my face into

her supple pillow, every now and then, bursts of realisation hit me.

Gran doesn’t remember anything. But my brain, and my heart,

refuses to accept it. The pain just gets worse as reality strikes me

again and again. I feel as if I am in a never-ending nightmare. My

thigh brushes against a textured item. Without so much as a look, I

know what it is. Gran’s straw hat. My breath catches in my throat. It

Straws of


Grace Yuan

Isobelle Carmody Award

for Creative Writing