She was so missing TV right now -which surprised her since she hadn’t really watched it much except for those occasions in the evenings with her Grandpa. She was just getting old enough to watch the ‘grown up’ shows before the ‘event’ and after the Bugger went to bed, she and her Grandpa would make popcorn and sweet tea, then the two of them would watch TV. They only watched at night since the day was filled with many day to day activities and of course all kinds of wilderness skills training.
She had so many good memories and she hoped that they would never fade. Watching the long anticipated Shawshank Redemption had been a real eye opener for her but she now knew why it was one of her Grandpa’s favorites.
But she had bad memories too and those were hard to shake sometimes.
I didn’t know why Momma had come to pick me and “The Bugger” up from Poppy’s. We both were upset and Momma didn’t look like she wanted us to ask her any questions! She had come to Poppy’s in the middle of the night and we all left early in the morning. It was misting rain and I didn’t want to leave. So basically everyone was miserable and Momma seemed mad.
Even at 13, I still loved living with Poppy even though Granny had died last winter. And with all the rumors of that bad flu going around this fall, Poppy had made both me and my younger brother “the Bugger” drink that elderberry concoction every morning and every night. He had of course, already been drinking it forever!
I think I saw tears in Poppy’s eyes as we left. I tried to be brave and make him proud of me. The Bugger had sniffled a bit, but I have to say, he was pretty brave too.
Here Momma had literally ignored us both for months and now she was acting all strange and taking us from the only real home we had ever really known for only God knows what reason! Our dad had long disappeared from our lives and we had no clue where he was or even who he was. I only had a few faint memories of old spice aftershave and a soft beard on his face. The Bugger had none.
Momma had started muttering and cursing. AND she started coughing hard which made her driving all weird and reckless-like. Her eyes looked funny. The Bugger and I were both belted in and we checked to make sure the belts were tight.
It was all over in a second yet it lasted for hours! The mist slicked road, the curve that goes to the right then left by an old apple orchard, Momma in the middle of a hard cough, the deer that jumped out of nowhere and startled Momma, the sharp jerk of the wheel and the long slow slide that really only lasted a few seconds. The Bugger screaming and not screaming as the wind was forced out of us both at the sudden stop. The quiet.
Momma never woke up from that one. The Bugger and I managed to get out of the car and find our way back to Poppy’s but that small amount of time we spent with Momma had left us with a final evil gift from her. She had had that bad flu and both The Bugger and I got it.
I don’t know why I managed to live through it and the Bugger didn’t. Poppy and I would put flowers on his small grave. I can’t believe how much I miss him.