a little mouse

I opened my eyes and stretched out my arms, grazing my fingers against the crocheted edging of my pillow case. Pulling off the covers, I dropped quietly out of the creaking bed and got on my hands and knees. Slowly creeping down the hallway and eager with an anxious bladder, I knew I would get her this time. Closer, closer, the weather man’s forecast was whirring louder now and the air was so thick with bacon grease that I could taste it breathing in. Inching towards the corner, ready to make my move, I heard her call out, “I hear a little mouse.” I bowed my head towards my chest unable to contain my laughs. She thought she heard a mouse! She had no idea it was me! Jumping in the door way, I screamed “BOO!” She dropped her fork onto the counter, grabbed her chest, and feigned a shock that was believable. With bacon sizzling in the pan and the toaster heating up slices of bread, she acted as though she hadn’t expected me. “Oh, it’s you!” she waived in the air. Her pink velvet robe glided across the linoleum as she brought over my glass of juice and pulled out my chair. I climbed up and slurped down my juice, wriggling to ease the urge to pee. “We’ll call your mom here after breakfast.” I crooked my eyes over to her and slumped out of my chair. “Can’t I stay here with you?” I asked. She didn’t answer, just flipped over a few slices of bacon and pushed me aside as they popped. “They pop like that because the pig is mad,” she explained. I went back down the hall to use the bathroom.  When I came back, more juice was in my cup and she stood buttering my toast. “I don’t wanna go back home, grandma,” I told her, worried.”What kind of jelly do you want?” “I really don’t want to. Why can’t I stay here?” “You gotta call and talk to your mamma. I don’t want to cause no trouble.” I sat and picked at my eggs, worrying that mamma would tell me that it’s time to come home. Picking up the phone and turning the numbers around the dial, grandma waited for her to answer. Nothing. She placed the phone on the receiver and said that we’d try later. I drank my juice with a smile and finished up my eggs. One more day, I thought. One more day.

I guess I’ve been thinking a lot about stories that I remember from being kid. They have a way of stacking up and sticking in my mind, making piles until I unload them. My grandma is in a lot of my memories. This memory isn’t one specific instance. This moment actually happened numerous times throughout my childhood. I’d creep down the hall, trying to sneak up and surprise her, but she always heard me coming and anticipated my wake up. I’d stay for weeks at her house. Especially during the summer. Her day began early and always with Folgers. The gurgling of her coffee pot is probably what woke me. The TV was always on and she had a list of chores to finish for the day. I remember her washing and ironing the window sheers often. That’s a chore I didn’t inherit. Every day was the same, but different. Different chores. Different story lines on The Young and the Restless. A different lunch. But always her and always busy. Always making a home. Always ornery about something. Her day would finish at her vanity with QVC marketing to her as she applied and rubbed off her cold cream. She twisted her hair into curls and secured them with bobby pins. Every night. No Instagram. No blogs. I don’t think she ever even wrote anything besides grocery lists and recipes. God, I’d love to still have those. But, her stories are stored here with me. And I remember them.


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