Shadow

Daily Prompt provided by Daily Post: Community Pool.

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She’s there every morning like a shadow. I can feel her eyes watching me from the garage door. I leave it open because the fresh air helps me work. It’s finally summer and the warm air always carries the smell of wildflowers in with it, and wildflowers will always remind me of Anna.

It’s been a year since Anna died, but I still can’t get myself to reconcile to the girl. She looks just like her grandma. She was Anna’s delight. I know I need to get over it.

I hunch over the carburetor and continue scrubbing. I need to get the dirty work finished by tomorrow or I won’t make the deadline for Parson & Sons. Lost in my own thoughts I didn’t even hear her creep up behind me.

“Grandpa?”her little voice chimed.

“Yes?” I ask her. I turn towards her but I don’t look at her face. I rest my eyes on her scrubby little brown shoes, they’ve obviously become too small. A pang of guilt strikes me in the chest. I’ve been so caught up in my own sorrow, I hadn’t even noticed how much she’s grown.

“I brought you something, ” she said. She held out her skinny little arms and in her hands she had a large bunch of brown-eyed-susans, Anna’s favorite. My eyes burn as I look at the sloppy bouquet. I reach out and grab the flowers from my granddaughter’s dirt stained hands.

“Thank you.” I say gruffly. Before I can stop myself I lift my eyes and meet hers. She looks scared for a moment and then her eyes smile at the corners. Just like Anna.

“Hi,” she whispers. I slide her tangled strands of hair behind her ears as I feel my heart sway inside my chest.

“Hi Annie,” I tell her softly. The next thing I know she throws her arms around my neck and hugs me so tight I think I might burst. The smell of wildflowers lingers in her hair and I can feel her tears falling on my neck. I hug her back, hoping she can feel how sorry I am. She’d quietly followed me around for a year without so much as a hello. After a few moments Annie let go and stood before me once again.

“Do you know what Grandma used to call me?” She asked brightly. I shake my head no. “She used to call me ‘my little shadow’.”

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