The following short story was inspired by a swap at swap-bot.com. I had to incorporate the words "grandpa," "airplane," and "notebook" into a microfiction piece.
By Candace Shultz
My grandpa carries a notebook with him everywhere: to the store, to the doctor's office, even to the bathroom. He goes through one every few months, but he always gets the same exact kind: a red Mead five-star spiral notebook with 100 pages. And he never lets me see what he writes! If I peek over his shoulder, he quickly closes the notebook and won't open it again until I leave the room.
Today I am determined to see why he's so secretive about his notebook. Grandpa and I are flying from New York where we visited Uncle John and Aunt Tracy and their first baby, Leighanne, to our home in Denver. As the airplane takes off from New York, I watch the city get smaller from the window seat. Grandpa sits in the aisle seat with his red notebook open, though he has it angled away from my sight.
An hour into our flight, Grandpa swirls his pen on the paper with flourish and closes the notebook with a happy sigh. He places the book in the mesh covering on the back of the seat in front of him, leans his head back against his seat, and closes his eyes. I wait another half hour before I hear him snoring. I reach for the notebook. My pulse jumps quickly as I open the front cover to the first page; then my heart stops. I look at a picture of my smiling parents holding a newborn baby: me. My eyes water as I gaze at my mom and dad who died when I was four. I feel a hand on my shoulder, so I turn to my grandpa as he looks at me with love and concern in his eyes.
“It's time I share my notebooks with you,” he says. For the rest of the flight, we look at the book together, one of dozens of notebooks he had written in over the years. I gaze at pictures and drawings of my parents and read about my parents past, what they were like, how they met, how much they loved me, and everything my grandpa could think to write about them. As the airplane touches down in Denver, I try to give the notebook back to my grandpa, but he presses his hands to mine and says, “I wrote these for you so you can remember them the way I do.”