• AKO

Pitter Patter

Updated: Apr 6

Here is a short nonfiction story I wrote in my creative writing class. It's about my grandma, miss you and love you my angel.


My grandma’s movements were always quick and fast, even with her aging and slowing body. She rushed to get water for someone when there was no need to rush. Her little feet went pitter patter on the floorboards because of her slippers with tons of silicone dots on the bottom to keep her from slipping and sliding.


She went from the kitchen, washing the dishes to taking a pitcher outside to the faucet to fill it up, to coming back in and hand vacuuming crumbs on the floor, to preparing coffee, to sitting down finally with our family in what seemed like a second. This whole time the pitter patter of her feet decreased and increased letting us know her location.


“Mother, God slow down you’ll hurt yourself,” my dad would yell when she would scurry outside and then back inside. When she didn’t respond and kept doing it, he would just repeat it, but nothing changed. She got up just as fast as she sat down and disappeared doing a task that couldn’t wait to be completed.


The houses in Bosnia and Hercegovina were huge but not because people were rich, but because usually huge families would live in one house. My paternal grandma and grandpa had 4 kids, who all lived with them once they got married before the war, plus their kids. The houses all coated a crazy pink or yellow color but always made out of brick, which was exposed closer to the bottom of the exterior. Each house entailed miles of its own green space for a garden, trees, chickens, cows, sheep, anything that would be on a farm.


My grandma’s living room stayed the same for as long as I can remember. Her long brown couch which stretched from one wall to the other forevermore covered by green blankets to protect the material underneath. I don’t know why Bosnians do that, but they make it a habit to cover couches with blankets or put a casing around the couch itself, like a huge pillowcase. Arabic styled carpets laid across the living room with old chestnut dressers on top, showcasing my grandma’s best teacups and silverware. A little black box with two antennas sat on a small dingy table in the corner of the room. I swear it looked like my grandma had that T.V. since WWII.


I hear the pitter patter coming closer and she sits down with us.


“Nino, honey, grandma needs to braid your hair, it’s all in your face,” she says. Her hairline indented back by the scarf she uses to tie it out of her face.


I sit down in between her legs while she sits up on the couch. She scoops my hair back and slicks it down with saliva. I wince whenever she would lick her hand and push my hair back. I looked from the corner of my eye to see my mom stopping herself from giggling at my facial expressions.


The T.V. is on with a Turkish series playing. “You see, that girl is cheating on her husband who is actually brothers with this cousin. The mom is plotting to reveal it to everyone but then the girl would be shunned, and shame on her because the other brother is deeply in love with her” my grandma whispered this as if the characters would hear her and tell her to shut up.


“Grandma, how do you know what is going on?”


She paused with the braiding and I turned around, the braid being held in my grandma’s hands still. Her eyebrows slanted inwards and down.


“Can’t you see? She clearly is in love with him but that isn’t her husband. And look that’s his mom and just look at her disappointed face when she finds out her daughter-in-law is cheating.”


I looked at my mom and got a nod that my grandma was right. The series had Bosnian subtitles playing underneath.


My grandma never learned to read or write, and the series was in Turkish. My grandma grew up in a time when her focus and duty was on household activities. She stopped going to school and helped her mom with the household work instead. How she understood correctly what was going on, forever lingers in my mind.


I chuckled and turned my back towards her again so she could finish the braid off. She tied my braid and the pitter patter of her feet started again, this time with the laundry machine then the bedroom then the kitchen.


Love, AKO


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