For my first short story, I thought I would post a nonfiction piece I wrote in college. It’s about my grandfather, Roscoe Braxton, who died recently. I’m a little ashamed to post this story. The majority of it is about how I took him for granted, but I tried to be honest. I think it reflects how many grandchildren feel about their grandparents, and I hope by the end, it shows just how special he is to me.
Feedback (good or bad) would be great! I don’t think I’ll ever publish this one, but it’s nice to get critiques anyway.
It was Homecoming Weekend during my sophomore year of college at the University of Missouri (“Mizzou” to its fans). Because ESPN College Gameday had come to campus, I had stayed up all night to try to get a spot near the front where I could be on TV. I was unsuccessful and trudged home after standing for three hours in a torrential downpour. I changed out of my wet clothes and climbed into bed, hoping to catch a few hours of sleep before the football game.
I was just drifting off when the my phone vibrated and jolted me awake. I cursed myself for being a light sleeper and rolled over to see the words “Granddaddy Roscoe” on my screen.
“Not now,” I groaned.
I thought about letting the call go to voicemail, but my dad had given me a lot of crap for not returning my granddad’s calls. I inhaled deeply, mustering up the dwindling reserves of my patience and answered the phone.
“Hi, Granddaddy,” I said, with cheer that I didn’t have.
“Hey, how ya doin?” My granddad’s rough, gravelly voice was even more abrasive than usual. Plus, he used the same greeting every time he called.
I imagined him sitting in his apartment, his once tall frame stooped with age. He was probably wearing his familiar flat cap hat and his khaki jacket that he wore rain or shine. I could picture the wide glasses he wore to assist his eyes that were slowly getting paler because of glaucoma. With these images floating around in my head, I felt guilty for not wanting to talk to him. My granddad was old, and I didn’t have that many grandparents left.
“I’m good,” I replied, as always.
“Y’all are playin’ a big game tonight, eh?” he asked.
By “y’all,” he meant Mizzou. It was a big game, I supposed. Mizzou hadn’t beaten Oklahoma in years, but we sure as heck weren’t going to win tonight. Oklahoma was ranked number 1 in the nation, and I couldn’t remember what Mizzou’s ranking was.
“Yeah,” I said. “We’re playing Oklahoma.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he said, chewing on his next thought like a cow chews cud. “They’re a pretty decent team, aren’t they?”
“They’re number 1 in nation,” I said. I grimaced as I thought back to last year’s Homecoming game, where Texas scored more than 70 points on us. “We’re heading for a slaughter.”
“Well…” He took a long pause, a torturously long pause.
I ground my teeth and watched the clock in my room. I knew that every minute I talked to him was a wasted minute of sleep.
He finally spoke. “I don’t know, Andrea. Mizzou’s a pretty good team. I think you can pull out a win.”
I rolled my eyes. My granddad didn’t know a thing about Mizzou. That was my school. He was a University of Tennessee fan. What did he know about Midwestern sports?
“I hope so,” I said.
“You know, back in 1961–“
Oh no, I thought. Here it comes. The story about how my granddad had taken one class at Mizzou during the summer and considered himself an alumnus. The cycle of stories was about to begin. Continue reading