Thursday, 30 June 2016

#whimword - Train

The smell of engine oil reminded her of her grandfather.

He'd been an engineer on the railways, and the smell of grease clung to his clothes and skin like cologne. She would probably always recognise that smell, and it would always bring to mind memories of her grandfather.

She'd worshipped him when she was young; loved him fiercely and looked up to him in that way only children can. To her, as a child, her grandfather was everything. He protected her, built her toys with his hands and always snuck her extra sweets when her mum and dad weren't looking.

As far as she was concerned he was the best thing in the whole wide world.

But we all have to grow up eventually. We lose our rose tinted glasses and see the world for what it really is, our heroes included. And we realise that they're not heroes at all, and that we should never have put them on a pedestal in the first place. They're just people; broken and sad, like the rest of us.

Of course she still loves her grandfather, but her heart has lost it's childlike naivete. She no longer worships the ground he walks on because she understands better.

Where once she saw a hero now she sees an ugly and bitter old man, chewed up and spat out by the life he has lived. She hears the ugly words he has to say—not to her, never to her—but they are ugly nonetheless. She sees the small oddities he displays, things she didn't notice, couldn't understand as a child. She sees, and she hurts.

She hurts for that little girl who loved her grandfather with all her might; hurts for the young woman she's become who's relationship with her beloved grandfather is now strained.

Some small part of her wishes she could go back, recapture the childlike wonder she felt and see her grandfather as she used to. But there is no turning back the hands of time, no matter how hard we wish. And even if she could, it wouldn't be the same. She wouldn't be the same.

Years pass and the distance between them grows. Guilt gnaws deep in her belly over that. She could do better, should do better. It would be so easy to reach out, to bridge that gulf instead of allowing it to widen. But the little girl and the young woman hurt in harmony and she remains silent.

Part of her wants to remember her grandfather the way he was to her childlike eyes, not as the wizened old man she sees now. She wants to remember the man she worshipped, not the man who should never have been on a pedestal.

She's older now, wiser. The rose tinted glasses have come off and the world is stark and bright as a result. Looking at it hurts her eyes, and her heart.

But she still has the scent of engine oil that reminds her of her grandfather.

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