Grandmother’s Last Gift

“I think we all have something we wish we could do. My advice do it. Do it now while you still can. Who knows it might be the best thing you ever did!”

I wrote this story in answer to the following prompts:
Word of the Day Challenge — Snooze
Pensitivity’s Three Things Challenge — Back, Begged, one
AuthorWorld — First line.
Fandango’s One Word Challenge — Mercurial

Grandmother’s Last Gift

“I stood at the back of the choir, miming as usual. The choirmaster made me nervous. I was too scared to let my voice out, but deep inside I wanted the world to hear it. I internally begged for one chance to show everyone how good I could be.

Quintin the choirmaster stood conducting like an emperor penguin in his tailed suit and little glasses. His gaze flicked up to me with all the intensity of a suspicious owl. He knew I was lip-synching. I’d be in for an ear-bashing later.

Swallowing my fear brought me close to choking through my parchment dry mouth. I could do this, opening my mouth to sing for real I hid a grin. The song came to an end just then. Now, I could snooze while the next act performed. Gazing into my candle, I allowed the room to become nothing more than a blur as the audience applauded.

“Wasn’t that beautiful ladies and gentlemen,” began headmaster Wallace Gordon taking to the stage. “Next up we have a soloist who’s going to delight us with his enchanting voice. Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Jez Beckett!”

The audience broke into polite applause

Meanwhile, I dissolved into total shock. That was my name! I hadn’t put myself up to sing a solo. Somebody was setting me up, I couldn’t perform with the choir forget singing alone!

“Well, Mr Beckett. The stage is yours.” Gordon focused on me.

I saw the spotlight shining upon his bald head. A series of red marks indicated his skull had met door frames more times than he’d care to admit. Meeting his eyes, I stood frozen to my spot in the choirstall.

“Mr Beckett?”

“I …” My candle blew out. There was no breeze in the room and yet the flame had flicked sharply to the right on a mercurial gust before extinguishing.

“Jez, wake up!”

My feet must’ve leapt three feet off the floor. Quintin had appeared right beside and scared the living daylights out of me. “Sorry, I …” Fingertips in my hair. I could feel somebody caressing my hair! I glanced at Amy beside me. Her hands were clasped about her candle. She was glaring at me; a look unsuiting her pretty face. ‘I wished she would smile. Lord knows I love her!’ Still, nobody could be touching me!

“Jez! Get on the stage. Do not screw this performance up!” Quintin demanded.

The hand smoothed my hair again, filling my body with cold static electricity. “I didn’t —” something pressed against my belly stealing the words from my tongue.

Jez, darling. Sing. Sing like an angel,’ the female voice seemed inhuman. Seemed to belong to the invisible breeze circling me.

“You did what?” Quintin scowled at me over his glasses.

Pressure against my back, pushing me from my place in the choir. I stumbled past Quintin and almost fell down the steps.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Jez Beckett,” announced headmaster Gordon to fresh applause.

Reaching the bottom of the steps, I cut in front of my friends in the choir. Glancing back towards my place, I caught sight of a spectral figure beside Amy. A woman in a white dress, scarcely brighter than the tree mural upon the wall. I knew who she was.

The ghost nodded to me, ‘Yes, my boy. Sing. Show everyone that beautiful voice you possess.

“I will, grandmother,” I whispered to myself as I approached the microphone. Then it hit me. What was I supposed to be singing? I hadn’t planned to do this at all. I had no idea what song the orchestra had been given for me. It filled me with dread. Looking at the sea of mums, dads, students and teachers enhanced it to a point where my feet started to demand I ran away. Yet I couldn’t — I had to do this!”

The drummer kicked in first, then the guitarists, violins, flutes. Finally, the pianist and the melody — my melody.

This was a song I composed a while ago. Nobody should have known it existed; let alone have the music sheet and be playing it in a live show without my permission. A knot of fury and fear twisted my stomach —There was another problem too!

I took a deep breath and glanced back up at the choir stalls. Time to commit reputational suicide.

“Floor’s yours, Mr Beckett,” said Mr Symons the orchestra conductor.

Rock it, my boy!” added my grandmother so close I could smell the violets of her perfume.

Taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes and curled my sweating, shaking hands around the microphone.

♪Down by the sea
   Just you and me
   Here we are
   Waltzing on the sandbar♪

I felt the ripple of applause from the audience more than I heard it. They’d enjoyed the first stanza. It was this next bit, the chorus, where the trouble was coming. Still, I opened my mouth and sang with all my heart and soul.

♪ Amy —
    do you love me
    Amy —
    set my heart free
    You are my shining star
    Waltzing on the sandbar♪

I heard her gasp from the choir stalls as the audience’s hearts melted. I was committed now. I’d finish what I started and then run like hell.

♪ White horses on the tide
    I hug you to my side
    You play my heart’s guitar
    Waltzing on the sandbar♪

As the orchestra ramped up the music, I couldn’t hear a murmur from anyone. I could only hope that meant they were enchanted by my soulful ballad.

♪ Amy —
    know I love you
    Amy —
    my pretty honeydew
    You are my caviar
    Waltzing on the sandbar♪

One final chorus to sing. Should I stay or should I run? For now, I opened my mouth and sang my ballad to its powerful end.

♪ Amy —
    do you love me
    Amy —
    set my heart free
    You are my shining star
    Waltzing on the sandbar♪

As my words died away, I stood breathing heavily. Feeling the sweat from the spotlight running down my face. Then they did it, the audience erupted into applause and whistles.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Jez Beckett!” announced headmaster Gordon.

I bowed to another round of applause, “Thank you,” I said into the microphone before walking away along the front of the choir — a trembling mess.

“Well done, my boy. You showed everyone you deserve to be number one in the charts,” said my grandmother’s spirit. I saw her up by the tree mural again. With a wave, she faded away through the wall.

“Up next, Jez will be singing with the choir as they perform the classic hymn sunshine!”

“Bugger! Now, I had to retake my place beside Amy in the choir. The next thing the audience would hear, was her slapping my face into oblivion.

Tripping up the steps, I walk into my position and took up my candle. Doing so without looking toward Amy. Even still, I could feel her boring a hole into my skull with her pretty dark eyes.

“Hey, popstar,” she said as the orchestra struck up again.

I glanced her way trying to gauge her reaction as I counted down the notes to begin to sing again. I registered shock and teary eyes, what was she thinking?

“Jez, am I the Amy in your song?”

 Gulping, I decided to say nothing. My preference was to get beaten to a pulp out of the view of everyone.

“You did sing that for me, didn’t you?” Amy prodded as everyone began to sing.

I nodded as I mouthed the words for the first stanza — too nervous to sing again.

“Just know, I’d waltz on the beach any day with you,” Amy reached over and kissed my cheek.

As the second stanza arrived, I took a deep breath. I opened my mouth and sang with a smile on my face.

My grandmother died several years ago. How she’d gotten me and my song into the show I’d never know. But I’d be eternally grateful for the gift she’d given me. Especially, as I got to finish the show hand-in-hand with Amy.

The End


Thanks for reading my friends.

There’s more in the Poetry CornerShort Stories. Short Stories 2. and Short Stories 3 tabs.

Have a great day!

11 thoughts on “Grandmother’s Last Gift

Add yours

  1. How lovely!! I used to sing in a choir. I know how nerve wracking it could be to sing solos, but, to not get acknowledged by fellow choir members. But my husband loved every one, so that was balm for my soul.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How sweet your husband supported you like that.

      Fun story Mr Symonds was Mrs Symonds when I was at school and she booted me from the choir for sounding like a blocked drain lol

      Thank you so much for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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