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Little Too Late - Mackenzie (Mac) Gellner

The sunlit space should naturally have a sense of warmth and welcoming, but with the array of chaos it was worrisome. There was going bad, and then there was disaster. My memory of playing in this now hollowed home hazes over the half empty beer bottles, crushed down pizza boxes, and cigarette butts in bottle caps. It wasn’t livable; couldn’t spend two minutes without anxiety overwhelming you.

I peek out through the broken screen door onto the back porch where my grandfather sat. He held a small scrap of paper in his left hand, while his right grasped a cold one.

“Gramps,” I cautiously call. He stands up instantly, crumpling the paper into his pants pocket.

“Delilah, I didn’t know you were coming?”

“Well, mom was worried about you, so she asked me to check in.”

He scuffs, “If she’s that worried, she could’ve sent herself.”

I needlessly close the screen door and take a seat next to him. The spring air chilled my skin, but I felt too selfish to ask if we could go inside. He always enjoyed sitting on this porch; told me once it reminded him of sitting with his father on their porch when he was young.

Along the wood panels he’d pursue his homework, looking up to his dad whenever a question stumped him. He’d sometimes even get splinters from it, but never told his dad. He knew his dad would send him back inside, so he kept it as his own secret.

“What’s on the paper?”

He eyes me, “What paper?” I raise my eyebrows at him until he sighs. “Your grandmother would always sign the corners of my papers whenever she’d find my manuscripts at home. She always thought I got too caught up in fiction sometimes that she needed to remind me of her.”

I reach for his hand to comfort him as I watch his bottom lip shake. He peers off to the right to keep his tears from me.

“I would rip the corners off every single time. She thought I tossed them away. I didn’t.”

He looks back at me and fumbles in his pocket. Carefully, he hands me the scrap; in faded pencil it reads “Love you, Angie.”

“I’m sorry, Gramps. She loved you very much, I could see it every time I’d visit.”

He told me that wasn’t his worry. After her recent passing in the crash, he said he couldn’t stop wondering if she knew he loved her. He was waiting for the perfect time to show his appreciation of her and her patience with him. Now he feels too late, that she never felt as loved as he did.

“I’ve kept them all, they’re in a scrapbook. This was the last one I had to put in from my final manuscript I shipped off to the publisher. Being my last book and we were going to retire; I was going to give her it before our trip. I wanted her to know that whenever I wrote, I always thought about her. Whether she signed it or not. Now I’m a little too late.”

“I’m really sorry, Gramps. I’m sure she knew though.”

He lowers his head, “Was so busy writing, I forgot to speak.”


Mackenzie (Mac) Gellner, born in New Westminster, British Columbia, completed her Bachelor of Communication in journalism at Mount Royal University. Mazkenzie's articles have been published in CBC News, the Florence University of the Arts magazine Blending, The Calgary Journal and The Reflector. Her photography published in Kelp Journal and WA Magazine, and my poetry published in You Might Need To Hear This and, in January 2024, Beyond Words Literary Magazine's anthology. She also, during field school in India, co-produced a short documentary on self-expression with the Sri Ram Ashram.

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Nov 17, 2023

Love this ❤️

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