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Cookies in the Oven.

By Kiyoko, Knoxville, TN

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“I want to be my grandfather.”
We all want to be our grandparents. When we knew them, they were old, wrinkled, and smelled of sharp tobacco – whether it was forced snugly into their bottom lip or packed into a gentlemanly cigar. Their clothes were soft when we were young, and their collarbones made perfect chinrests to watch the early stages of life dwindle past us. Their eyes, hidden by sagging eyelids, searched out lies with unforgiving depth, and we’re all glad their lids were closed at the funeral. No one wants to hear the secrets that have surfaced in their absence.

You get weaker when your grandparents are gone. Parents are harsh, unfair, self-centered and demanding. They smell like leather belts and never understanding, even when we only want a nod and a smile.

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