A post I had intended to reblog, before getting waylaid by having to republish my first novel, was Sally Cronin‘ short story, “Xenia.” Sally asked us to choose a story beginning with the letters Q V W X Y or Z to introduce her new collection, which would be published in her latest book, What’s in a Name Vol. II.
Find all of Sally’s books HERE
I love Sally’s short stories; and as many of you know, she consistently supports authors and bloggers in several ways on her blog, Smorgasbord Invitation. If you’re not familiar with Sally, I think you’ll find her writing most compelling and hope you’ll visit and follow her blog.
Her short story “Xenia” touched me deeply, and I’m pleased to share it with you now.
Your name is Xenia, after your Greek grandmother, whose wrinkled complexion smelt of roses and almond oil. I remember the hot summers of our visits as we played on the rocks beneath her stone house; working up an appetite for the platters of goat’s cheese, olives and warm bread. The loaves were taken straight from the wood stove; handled carefully with well worn hessian rags, and served up on the rough wooden table in her wild garden. I remember being fascinated by her hands as they sliced thick warm chunks with an ancient serrated bread knife. They were blackened from nearly 80 years in the sun, with dark-rimmed nails from digging into the soil for home grown vegetables.
She was still a beautiful woman, who loved to have her long black and grey hair gently brushed in the twilight; sipping delicately from her glass of rose pink wine. Happy sighs filled the scented air; encouraging continued effort. We dreaded her tears as we left to catch the ferry at the end of summer, with her whispered goodbyes and pleas for us to return again the next year, remaining in our minds for weeks afterwards.
But one summer only my father made the journey, to stay just a week to bury his beloved mother, with her silver backed hair brush and a small bottle of almond oil resting in her hands.
That was ten years ago and I have been saving up her name to give to you, my first child.