The first time Grandma Grace came to our house, I watched her from the side door of the kitchen for ten minutes. I was suspicious. I already had a Grandma. Grandma Rose came over once a week to babysit me when no one else was home. We’d play board games and eat chocolate cookies until our stomachs ached. We’d study the globe in Dad’s office and imagine we were traveling to distant lands. She would read me the comics from the Sunday paper. We’d go out to the vegetable garden and check on our plants, pulling all the weeds and watering.
Grandma Grace? I had never seen her before and here she was in my house. In my kitchen, talking to my mom. About how she was going to be staying with me this Sunday. And a few other Sundays as well. Grandma Rose was sick and needed some time off. I had stamped my feet in protest about it, but immediately felt guilty that Grandma Rose was sick. I took a bunch of pictures of the garden and mailed them to her, promising that I would take good care of it until she came back. Promised her that I would not “travel” to any distant lands without her.
I suppose Grandma Grace looked like any grandmother would, in fact, she had that same short haircut like Grandma Rose and she had those funny sneaker-shoes that had wide bottoms. Except Grandma Grace wore a ton of jewelry. Bracelets that jangled, necklaces that dinged. Even the slightest move, you’d hear her. It was hard to keep focus on what she was saying with all the noise.
“She’s a little shy. I mean, I know a lot of kids are at this age, but Megan really has trouble socializing. She’s just a really ‘feeling’ little girl. And it makes it hard with other kids who aren’t. We’re thinking about trying to get her involved in a sport or club, but she doesn’t seem to be into any of those things. And Brett doesn’t want to force her into…”
“Oh dear, I am sure we will get along fancily. Don’t you worry. From what you have told me about her, I think we’ll be able to connect. In fact, I bet she’s very interested in me…”
I jumped when she jangly turned to the doorway. She smiled widely and I was suddenly very nervous and embarrassed for having been spying.
“Meg! Come on in,” my mother invited. She smiled wider than I had ever seen her smile before. Maybe she was nervous too.
I gulped. I had no choice but to go in.
“Well, hello Meg. I’m Grandma Grace. It’s very nice to finally meet you.” She put her bracelet-ed hand out in front of me. I took it as I was taught that that was the polite thing to do. I shook her fingertips with my fingertips. Her hands were freezing cold. From this close, I could see that her teeth were very white and very straight. They didn’t seem right and I didn’t like it.
My mother looked at her watch. “Okay, well, I have to head out now. Can’t be late for my shift. I’ll be back this evening. You two have fun!” She quickly hugged me and was out the door before I could even protest or what I really wanted to do, grab onto her leg and not let her leave me all alone with this stranger.
And there we stood in the kitchen, sizing each other up. I wondered what she thought of me. I wanted to run back to my room and get under my covers, not to come out until Mom was back from work.
“I think I’m going to…” I started.