“Oh, she’s got her head in the clouds, Winnie. You know what that means.” We’re sitting on their screened-in back porch, on the white wicker furniture Grams bought at a yard sale. She cleaned it up and bought some cushions to go with it. That’s where I’m sitting. Grams is in a rocking chair, knitting who knows what today. She used to knit clothes for my Barbie dolls—cheerleading outfits complete with pom poms, a nurse’s outfit, and even a dress suit. All of it was reminiscent of the 1950s, an era I truly wish I got to live through—the music, the cars, the simple way of life. I think I’d enjoy it all.
“Leave her be, Bernie. When she’s ready, she’ll tell us who the young man is who has her smiling happily.” I wink at Grams because we both know I’ll tell her, then she’ll tell Gramps. It’s like playing telephone, only we do it to annoy him. Though I secretly think he loves it.
“I’ll take that over the moping she did last weekend.” He returns to his newspaper he’s reading at the small table they have out here. I don’t know how they can make a place so small feel so cozy, but it works.
“Are you almost done with the comic section, Gramps?” I ask. Some may think it’s old and outdated, but Gramps doesn’t care. He’ll pay for it the rest of his days. I’ll sit right beside him, stealing the comic section, too.
“Hold your horses. You can have the paper when I get up to get dressed. Your mother, I mean grandmother; damn, I do that a lot.” He’s not wrong, and it’s never bothered me before. “Anyways, she’s in the mood for fried cod, so I figured we’d spend our Sunday evening at the diner.” Grams is from a small island up north, and anytime she can get fish, she’ll take it.
“Sounds good to me. Hurry up, old man.” I laugh but then go back to reading the magazine I have in my lap. It’s not like it’s anything important; this one is a home decorating one. The small wicker coffee table is littered with other types of magazines, some healthy cooking, others trash-like magazines with celebrity gossip. We don’t discriminate on what we like to devour in our reading here.
“I’ll hurry up when I’m darn good and ready, young whippersnapper.” I watch as he stands up, walks towards us, bends to kiss Grams on her cheek, and then tosses the newspaper to me.
“Go on, Bernie. Quit pestering the girl. Plus, you make us ladies wait too much longer, I’ll have Alana drive me to the diner herself.” Grams doesn’t drive, never has and probably never will. It doesn’t bother me or Gramps. We just get in the car and go.
“Why do you think I’m getting ready now? I know you two will get in cahoots and leave my old behind here,” he says while walking into the house.
I look at Grams. She’s smiling, happy like normal. The two of them love to tease one another. “Well, I guess the coast is clear, so I can tell you what’s going on.” I’m for sure not going to tell her the sordid part about us getting together in the middle of the night in a clandestine affair. There’s no way I could ever. We’re close, but that would be too much for me to divulge.
“Alana, I’ve been waiting a week. I can wait as long as you need, doll.” Grams puts her knitting work down on the table that’s set off to the side. The bottom shelf has a basket filled with all of her knitting needles and yarn, along with patterns.
“I know that, but I wasn’t sure Keller was going to come to his senses, and I didn’t want to talk about it if nothing came of it, but, Grams, he comes with what some would call baggage.” I gear up for having a strong case when it comes to him.
“We all do. It’s how you handle the baggage that matters.” So calm and collected.
“He’s a single dad, a parent to one of my students, and, well, we were seeing one another. He wanted things a certain way, but you know how I’m built, so much like you and Gramps that I knew it wouldn’t work that way. So, I told him that my feelings were stronger and that it would have to end.” I take a breath before going on, “I didn’t expect him to want the same thing after the way he texted me, but he does. Now, though, I’m so excited I could burst, but I’m also super apprehensive.”
“Rightfully so. You also have a good head on your shoulders. I know you’ll do the right thing. Keep telling me all the details. What does he look like, what does he do?” Grams asks, so I unfold and tell her everything, well, minus the hot sex. A girl does have secrets, especially those that need to be kept from her grandmother.