by Emma Foster
Four years old, but I’m tall enough already to yank the drawer back. I peer over the edge and gaze in awe at the miscellaneous memories. The junk drawer has its own arthritis, with rusting hinges, flaking paint, chock full of what Grandma tossed in there without thought. It holds the simple things I love, tucked in its hidden places: paperclips, dull, green-bodied pencils, pink and orange eraser caps. I snag a stray nickel. I doodle with the pencils, make paperclip chains while Grandma does the dishes and gazes out her kitchen window.
Thirteen years old, I’m already surpassing my grandma’s education. I thrust my hand into the canopy of dented paper scraps, looking only for necessity. I manage to find a pencil, gone soft with age, graphite end snapped off. Grandma begins a search for the pencil sharpener, as if she knows that she has one. “This is too much for me,” she mutters.
Nineteen years old, and I wish I knew as much as Grandma once knew. She set us all down once, over Sunday dinner, saying her time was near. She tossed down notepads, “Make a list of things you want in my house.” It takes us two years, and when we’re done, Grandma places them where she places everything.
Twenty-two years old, I had kept my list in the junk drawer. We clear out the last of her things, shoving our pain back until nothing is left. I glance in the junk drawer and find it empty.
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Emma Foster graduated from Cedarville University with a degree in English and minor in creative writing. She's been published in the Cedarville Review, Voices of the Valley Literary Journal, Ariel Chart, and she is forthcoming in Sledgehammer Lit and Nailpolish Stories. She is currently a finalist for the WOW! Women on Writing Flash Fiction Contest.