Caroline stood by her grandmother’s casket and looked with such love on the woman who had raised her when her mother had simply walked away and left her. Nana was so cool, and everyone who knew her loved her, for she was real. There was nothing artificial about Nana, as she told people exactly what they needed to hear even when they wished that she would keep the advice to herself.
Telling people what they needed to hear was an inheritance that Caroline meant to continue, for she had learned a lot from Nan’s straightforward attitude that had saved her from the noose of bad relationships. Nana always insisted on meeting Caroline’s dates, something that Caroline hated, but she knew not to try and date behind Nana’s back, for nothing escaped Nana’s attention.
Caroline wondered once if Nana had placed one of those tracking devices on her phone or car. She knew that it was the old lady’s way of protecting her, but she wasn’t always happy about it. But then, she met a guy who seemed so wonderful, and when Nana told her he was poison and would hurt her physically and emotionally if he got the chance, she just could not believe it. It was the one time she defied her grandmother, believing that in this case, Nana was just wrong!
But, after a particularly harrowing night out with him, one in which she had to escape through a bathroom window at a gas station to avoid him hurting her, she realized that Nana was right, and she never again doubted Nana’s ability to spot bad apples.
Just before Nana died, she asked her how was she supposed to stay safe now that Nana was leaving her? Her Nana told her, “Look in their eyes when they smile or laugh, and if the smile doesn’t reach their eyes, run, don’t walk, away from them.” That advice would keep Caroline, and each woman in whom she felt compelled to tell the same advice, safe in the years ahead.