I don’t like my grandmother. Or crinolines, gloves, hats, and church on Sunday. I don’t like all the things she says like “Children may be seen, not heard.” or “Finish your supper – think of all the starving children in China.”
I don’t like being left there. Unless she makes me cake that is mostly icing – I don’t like cake – it feels funny when I eat it without double icing. Or a square egg for breakfast in the square pan.
But mostly, it’s: “Read; the closets upstairs are full of books you father and aunt and uncle read.” And full of ghosts – but she never believes me when I hear one. So I sleep upstairs with the closets of books and ghosts and the musty smell making me wheeze. I have allergies to things like hay and golden rod and I think dust.
But there is one thing that is special about being there – the big weeping willow at the top of the drive way that nobody drives up. It was too much up; it’s a hill. The willow branches grow all the way past the ground, and you can play inside. Have tea with dolls or fairys – mostly fairys. Fairys live in the gardens my grandmother is always busy at. That’s why the flowers grow tall like the gladeolahs and fox gloves that didn’t look like gloves at all. Especially not for foxes. There were no foxes to wear the gloves. Fairys make flower gardens grow.
People stop their cars on the road to admire her gardens, especially the roses and ask to see them. The fairys hide in the willow then. They are kind because they let people think my grandmother grew all the flowers and roses and she didn’t. I hate the smell of roses and it’s everywhere.
Inside the willow, I didn’t have to read the books, I could make up my own stories. Stories about everything. No crinolines allowed under the willow or in stories. I am sure fairys don’t wear crinolines or gloves. They might wear flower hats.
Stories for hours til someone finds me. Then I have to come out because it’s supper, or shopping in town, or because I’m not in the house reading. Oops, sorry I am not – you are supposed to speak proper in her house. No hate – it is do not like or love is do like and everything is pretty please. I am not pretty and I do not please – I listen at the top of the stairs when the ghosts let me.
For Tale Weaver #103, through a child’s eyes. I cried when she had the willow cut down.