UNDERGROUND VOICES: FICTION
I dreamt about my grandson last night. He’s my daughter Ruth’s only child. They brought
her in to the emergency room almost thirty years ago. It was warm, even for June. Ruth
had been out mowing the lawn when her water broke. My son-in-law, Todd, saw her
standing in the middle of the lawn. She held the mower in front of her with stiff arms,
like she was afraid it might get wet. My daughter looked up at her husband and said it
was time. My daughter told him to get her suitcase. She said, “After we’re done with this,
we really should look for a new starter for this mower.”
My grandson, Miles, was born precisely on the day Dr. Hammond predicted. Ruth
Two hours later, Miles was born.
My daughter called me. She said, “Mother, he looks just like Poppa. Isn’t that
I said yes, yes it was.
My husband waited at the dining room table, smoking one of his Camel unfiltereds.
Ruth said, “Momma, I’m gonna cut off my hair.”
I asked why she would cut that thick, gorgeous black hair that was a gift from her
She said, “I got a baby now. I can’t fool with a head of hair.”
I told my husband about this. He exhaled and said, “Well, you gotta give it to her.
“No fooling around with that one.”
I nodded again.
Thirteen years later, I held my husband’s hand as the cancer finally claimed
Even back then, before the blood vessels in my legs stopped working and I fell
In my dream, Miles was still in the hospital. The rest home where Ruth and Marty
I spoke with him on the phone right after he settled back into his apartment. He
I can’t tell you how I knew my grandson was unhappy, why I always believed this
Ruth said, “He has his crutches. He took to them real fast.”
She said, “Mother, you know Miles. It’s gonna take more than a severed nerve to
She said, “He only has to use a cane now.”
I said, “I want to see him.”
Ruth searched my chest of drawers to make sure she had collected anything at all
I shook my head. That night, this last night, I dreamt of my grandson. I dreamt I
There was no traffic and I never got tired. I put the walker out in front of me then
I want to tell Miles about my dream. I want him to know even when I dream, he is
Miles hobbles outside when we reach the apartment parking lot. I roll down my
My grandson smiles. He says, “Mom said you had a dream about me.”
I’m disappointed, so disappointed.
That was mine, not hers.
“Did you ever find me?” Miles asks.
I look at him for a moment, hoping I don’t look as lost as I feel.
“At the end of the dream, Granny? Did you find me?”Thomas Kearnes has published fiction in Wicked Hollow, Southern Hum, Blithe House
Quarterly and flashquake. He has work forthcoming this summer in Citizen Culture.
He has also published poetry in nearly a half-dozen magazines, including Nexus and
© 2006 Underground Voices