As the Crow Flies
by Anthony J. Rapino
I always knew what Gran was gettin’ at. Settled into her rocker, she’d spy me on my way out--knowin’ I was dolled up to see some boy promising me all kinds a things--and she’d say, “You can take the girl out of the country...” and I knew right off what she meant.
Like those summer days going to market, squeezed between my father and Gran in the pickup. Pop trying to ease the heat off by sayin’, “Only a few more minutes now.” Then Gran huffin’, sayin’, “As the crow flies.”
She was like that straight up till her dyin’ day. I’d been sittin’ with her for two weeks. She was mostly unconscious--and we thought she’d sleep right through to the other side--till, nearin’ the end of summer as the sun dropped, she went and woke up.
Her eyes were wide and glassy and full of pain. I went to her and rested my head on the pillow. Being a God fearin’ girl and acquainted with death on the farm, I whispered sweet-like, “Go on now, Gran. You’re almost with our Father.”
She sneered and said, “As the crow flies.”
I recoiled as a darned crow alighted right on our sill! It cocked its neck, givin’ me an evil look, and flew off, a silhouette against the inky sky. When I turned, Gran was gone too. Maybe a silhouette herself.
I always knew what Gran was gettin’ at. But after that night, I’m not so sure.