Through the screen door and the layers of chain link, you watch a few kids playing in the alley. They ride small bikes up and down the concrete, whizzing by the seven or eight row houses you can see while you eat. You'll probably stay inside and play cards with Gram or any other cousins who may also come by. Or you will go in the back by the washing machine. They have no dryer here. You'll set up the ten wooden pins for your sister to knock down. She'll take aim from across six or so tiles of linoleum, cream and evergreen.
The expansive canvas awning shades the kitchen all day, but it is hot and you go back for more tea. Gram smiles while you sip it, happy to have you here where she always is. Pop sits by the phone. You won't hear it ring, though you will hear him shout out, "hello." The screen door up in the living room slams and random family descends. It's fun to see who it will be, who this Sunday morning will bring, down the stairs into the terrace kitchen.
Even today, my memory feels clear though it may soon fade away. Pop will not live here much longer. It's time to move on after 56 years. 45 with her, 11 without. The last time I saw her in this kitchen it was a few days before I went back to school. She got up from the table, walked to me on the stairs in long, white shorts, the kind she often wore. She handed me an envelope with some money for books, maybe snacks, some cash for my final year. I'd be back soon. I'd see her on break.
But I didn't. She was gone.
Gram presides over the simple terrace kitchen from her place at the table, the one closest to the sink. She always expects you meet her there for a hug and you never let her down.
This piece was somewhat inspired by a recent trip to visit my daughters' Grandma. I hope to write a piece on that as well soon. AND, I'm linking up with Yeah Write again, finally. I've missed hanging out there. Join me! Click on the button below to read some fascinating writers, or better yet, post your own piece.