Five Sentence Fiction – Letters

Grandpa Roger had only died a few weeks ago, but he’d been gone for much longer than that; Alzheimer’s is a relentless bitch, and it had taken him away from us years ago. He’d been too far gone for me to get to know much about him, other than the stories from my dad and his siblings – stories of life on the farm, stories of he and Grandma Margaret laughing over private jokes at Thanksgiving, stories of the war, and the foreclosure, and finally, stories of the home where he’d rotted from within and without. I was the closest family member left in town after the funeral, and I was tasked with collecting the debris of his life and doing god-knows-what with it. The closet in the nursing home smelled of cheap detergent, antiseptic, age, and – hidden in the bottom – the must of cardboard kept in an enclosed space too long. The box was heavy, and nearly coming apart at the seams, but it held together until I got it out into the open, falling apart like its former keeper, spilling thousands of letters written in a blocky script, the story of a life.

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