This short story is full of memories of my late grandad. It’s a story for anyone who has loved and lost.
Spinning magic in the garden shed
It was not just a garden shed – it was a dark metal cavern full of wonder and curiosity. Grandad’s shed was low-lit and smelt like sawdust with a faint hint of grass clippings and petrol from the lawn mower. The metal walls were strewn with tools hanging from every inch. The space, no more than six square meters in size, felt endlessly expansive to an eleven-year-old tomboy like me.
Memories, sweet memories
As I walk back through the archives of my mind I unearth a memory of Grandad and I cracking macadamias in his garden shed. I would first fill up my shirt with macadamia nuts from the tree and carry them back to Grandad in the shed. I then laid the hard shelled macadamia nuts on the cool concrete floor. One by one we’d place a macadamia nut in the workbench clamp and wind it till the shell split open. We would eat the freshly cracked macadamias as we went.
Building, making and learning together
Grandad would spend hours building things in his garden shed. He taught me how to use simple tools like hammers, chisels and planes. The centrepiece in the shed was an old workbench. It was stained and covered with markings. If the markings could speak they would whisper stories of swing sets being welded, rocking chairs being shaped and bikes being fixed.
The old workbench
My Grandad was like his workbench. He had deep lines across his face. He had markings on the back of his hands where days of labouring on his farm under the sun had stained his skin. He may have been old and worn like the workbench but his quick wit was anything but geriatric.
The last moments
I remember seeing him lay in his bed, frail and lifeless, struggling to sip water through a plastic straw. He would try in vain to clear his throat but did not have the strength. The power in his hands had all but gone. My beloved Grandad was stuck in a bed waiting to pass on, and then he did.
Time moves by quickly
It is clear how quickly the present becomes the past. It’s clear how we can love and cherish the past but never bring it back. We want to shake the past back to life. But alas, the allusive past slips silently from our finger tips.