Welcome back to #flashfictionfriday with the longest “flash fiction” piece yet. It didn’t come out exactly as I planned, but I hope you enjoy!
“Let me tell you something about your grandmother.” Mama pulled Jayson onto her lap. He tried to wipe his running nose without her noticing. Seven was too old to cry over the jokes and jeers of classmates who called his favorite grandparent “old” and “crazy”. Luckily, Mama had heard the other children, and had called him in before he disgraced himself.
Mama rocked back and forth gently as she talked. “Grandma has a code name.” Jayson’s ears perked up.
“Like a superhero?”
Jayson could feel her chuckle as she tucked his head under her chin and rested her cheek on it, one hand stroking his bangs off his forehead.
Normally, Jayson would protest, tell her she was messing up his hair. Now, he held his breath, giving her time to collect her thoughts. If he interrupted her now, he might never get to know about Grandma’s secret past.
“Grandma is known as the ‘Revolution Whisperer’.” Jayson wrinkled his nose into his mothers elbow. That didn’t sound exciting. Mama continued. If she’d noticed his reaction, she didn’t comment on it.
“She’s started revolutions in three different countries. All peaceful ones, too. They were known as the ‘Philosophical Revolutions’.”
Jayson sighed. This was turning into a history lesson. He hated history in school. And besides, this wasn’t anything he could use to ward off the bullies taunts. They probably had no clue what a philosophical revolution was. Jayson wasn’t even sure he knew what that meant.
Mama had a way of sensing that, and laid to rest one of the questions running through his mind.
“She fought a war of ideas. Of equality. Governments trembled in fear whenever they heard that she was in their area.”
Now we’re getting somewhere, Jayson thought to himself.
The story wasn’t over yet. “You know what else?” She waited for the subtle shake of his head before continuing. “She did all of it without seeming to take sides. She was a friend to the government and the revolutionaries alike.” Mama took his chin and turned his face up to hers. “That didn’t mean she agreed with everything they said, and that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t call them out if they overstepped the boundary. What it does mean is that she treated everyone with respect, and she took the time to listen to what they were saying.”
Jayson pulled a face. “You can’t make a bully think you’re their friend. It’s kinda too late for that.”
“Hmm.” Mama released his chin and he pressed his head back into the crook of her arm. “You know what? I think it would work on the bullies too. Start by ignoring them. It won’t be any fun anymore if they don’t get a reaction out of you.”
Shaking his head violently, Jayson looked back up to meet her eyes. “But I have to defend Grandma!”
Mama smiled gently. “It’s all right. You don’t have to try to convince them of something they don’t want to know. As long as you know in your heart they’re wrong, that’s what matters.”
“I still don’t want them to say those things. Just because Grandma talks to herself sometimes, all right well, all the time, doesn’t mean they get to call her crazy.” He stared up at his mother defiantly.
“Learn something from Grandma, hmm? Don’t lower yourself to their level. Be the bigger person. Show them how a young gentleman should act.” This time, he did protest when she ruffled his hair, and she laughed.
“I know what I’m going to do!” Jayson felt the idea spark in his brain just like all the “I have an idea” lightbulb posters. “I’m going to write a story about Grandma. It’s going to be about all the wonderful things she did so no one can forget her.”
Mama’s face lit up too. “What a great idea. I’m sure she’ll have lots of stories to tell you.
Jayson was already scrambling down and reaching for an empty notebook. He even picked up the bright red pencil with the Superman eraser he had gotten for his birthday. This was a special project and deserved a special writing instrument. “I’m going to go talk to her right now.”
He dashed up the stairs, before remembering he’d have to name his book. He sat down on the top step, and with the newly sharpened point of his new pencil, he carefully wrote in large letters across the top of page one:
THE REVOLUTION WHISPERER