The Two-Block Journey
A short story.
By: Victoria Quintanilla
I want you to think about the happiest times in your life. The moments that cause you to smile each and every time you think about them, the moments you hope never to forget even when your mind grows old and tired, the moments you will tell your children and their children, the moments that have molded you into the best version of yourself; the moments that gave you a reason to live, in hopes for more of those moments. This is a story about happiness, in its purest form: the innocence of a young girl, accompanied by the wisdom of her grandfather.
“Grandpa, I wanna go to the park.”
“Okay, let me put my sandals on.”
The smile that spread across the face of the very active, cute, persistent, 5-year-old Grace could’ve been seen from a mile away. While impatiently waiting for her Grandpa to put on his dark brown Velcro sandals, which already had the imprint of his feet, Grace started to look through some drawers in the dining room.
“Ready?” her Grandpa asked.
She looked up at him with a toothless grin and said, “Yup!”
“Okay! Let’s go.”
Hand in hand, they headed out the door of her grandpas blue-grey wooden house and their two-block journey to the park began. The admiration Grace had for her grandpa was not a secret; for these two shared a special bond. Not long after their departure, she looked up at him with her big brown eyes, and the conversation between a 64-year-old white-haired man, and a 5-year-old brown-haired girl began. You see, Grace was a very curious child; she wanted to know who, what, when, where and why at all times, and when her questions were answered, she would remain silent for about three seconds until she thought up another question to ask. There wasn’t much you could get past her inquisitive nature. Her Grandpa was very much used to it, and it seemed as if he enjoyed it just as much as she did.
“Grandpa, when were you born?”
“ March of 1933.”
Cars zoomed past them and dogs barked as they approached their usual route between a guardrail and the red poorly painted fence that held back three dogs. Trips to the park were an often occurrence for this pair, Grace spent as much time as she could with her grandpa, she found a best friend in him, and he in her.
“Grandpa, why is there so many different colors on this?” she asked as she pointed to the guardrail riddled with different colored paint which separated them from the not-so-busy street.
“That happens when cars accidentally bump into the guardrail.”
“Oh! Now I know!” she replied with a sweet innocent smile.
Grace loved learning new things, and her Grandpa loved teaching her all that he could. To her, he was the smartest man in the world; Grace didn’t know that his education had only reached up to the sixth grade, and even if she did know, her thoughts would’ve remained the same.
At last, the pair reached the park and Grace ran into to the rock filled area that was the home to many different slides, countless vulgarities in the form of graffiti, and her imagination. While Grace ran around wild, her Grandpa sat patiently and quietly in his usual spot, there he could keep an eye on her, even if she tried hiding. His eyes only wandered to the occasional passing car, other than that his attention was fixated on his granddaughter who captured his heart entirely and gave him a new zest for life. The smile never left his face as he watched her run around the playground with nobody but her self, he would laugh a quiet laugh as he listened to her talk loudly as if she was speaking with other children, he looked on in complete admiration of her personality.
Her cheeks were as red as apples, her legs covered in dirt, and as she used her hands to get her long brown hair out of her face she looked up at her grandpa and said, “Okay, I’m ready. I’m so thirsty grandpa!”
“Okay, let’s go! There is some sweet tea at the house.” Grace thought her grandpa made the best and sweetest sweet tea ever, he told her it’s because he made it with love especially for her, and she believed it.
Their two-block journey back to the house began, the only things that changed were the questions Grace came up with and some of the wild things her 5-year-old imagination would come up with.
“Grandpa did you know that when I was born I was really a puppy?” She looked up at him and began to nod her head, “It’s true, you can even ask my mom.”
He looked down at her and looked as surprised as he could and replied, “Oh really? What kind of puppy were you?” Grace paused for a moment while she thought of what to say next, at last she came up with something she thought to be fairly clever and quickly responded “Oh! I was a pink poodle and even my nails were painted!” She covered her mouth with the hand that wasn’t being held by her grandpas’ old, callused hand and giggled.
“Actually, I remember going to the hospital to see you when you were born, and you’re right! You were a pink poodle!”
“See! Told you!” They looked at each other and both burst out laughing. He loved hearing her youthful, cute laugh; it brought him reassurance and faith, and she loved making him laugh, it brought her security and made her feel loved.
Their journey was over, and they both sat at the table sipping on their sweet tea and talking. He will cherish each and every moment he will spend by her side, and she will do the same. He made her eyes shine with happiness and wonder, and she made his eyes shine with love and hope. The bond between this man and child was indescribable, the love he had for her was strong enough to move mountains, and the love she had for him was endless. They were the best of friends, and if her love could’ve saved him, her love alone would’ve made him immortal.