A short story by Chloe Dunseath

I stared out my third storey window, dreading the upcoming event while I watched her sleek emerald jaguar pull into our narrow drive, another visit another change. The abrupt ‘ring’ of our door bell reinforced the situation ahead, “She’s here”, I contemplated to myself.

The ‘crack’ of her strident voice echoed through the house, as we all assembled to welcome the unwanted visitor. She perched there tall, peering at us like a hawk watching its prey. Her solemn eyes and fiery red hair said it all. I thought she might not notice me behind my elevated father, but I was wrong “Julie”, she bellowed, “Come give your grandma a hug.”

While I made my way over her ancient 1950’s bags, the smell of her musk pierced my nostrils and before I caught my breath, I was seized in her tight clasp. As I struggled out of her restraining hold, I released a quiet “Hi grandma” while gasping for air.

During that time an awkward silence engrossed the room, and our very bodies stayed upright as she nobly peered around, as if she were a judge. “I see you’ve done something with your hair”, she stated while prowling past my mother, with her squinted eyes.

The day drifted on, and our normal family buzz grew dull in the presence of her high remarks and crude comments. “Stand up straight Julie, Don’t slouch Julie, Hold your head high Julie” she would squawk endlessly. It was barely the first day of her visit and already it seemed I had been deprived of my free will, and trained for her mere amusement.

Night sped past quickly, and at dawn I crawled out of bed, stumbled to the window, and threw open my curtains to reveal another beautiful spring morning. As I gazed out the window my thoughts drifted to the day ahead; another day with grandma. My thoughts were swiftly interrupted by an ominous ‘thud’.

Before I knew it, we were at the local hospital standing over grandma’s lifeless body. Her striking red hair lay out of place on the immaculate pillow. The serene, peaceful expression on her face a horrible contrast to our own devastated demeanour. The strangest thing was even though I despised her merely hours before, I missed her already.

Chloe Dunseath is a Yr11 student at Paraparaumu College.