Nanny and Pipe

I miss my nan. I miss our visits. I miss her smile and her sparkling eyes and even her gossip. I miss making her tea in a delicate tea cup complete with saucer, the handful of grapes that were always on the table, the assortment of cookies that were always in the blue tin in the cupboard above the sink. I miss how she would put her soft hand, as delicate as her teacup, on my arm when she was telling me something she really wanted me to listen to. I miss the concern in her voice and the love in her eyes when we were trying to get pregnant and the worry she showed when my sister got pregnant before me. I miss going in to her room, seeing the two little beds with the wooden headboards, the delicate makeup table and rickety chair with the crystal jewel holders and soft bristle brush with matching hand held mirror placed perfectly on top, and the dresser that housed the rotary phone and the address books with little scraps of paper tucked in because she ran out of space under H and M (“You kids need to stop moving, I have no space left!”).

My nan was a beauty. A stunner, they’d call her today. Once she went in to the Palliative Care Home, I would visit her and wash her hair for her. We would talk about things that had been happening in each of our worlds, I would give her the latest on McK’s newest trick and she would give me the latest on the woman in the room across the hall that seems just a little bit crazy. I would make her laugh. And I would leave wondering if it was the last time I was going to go and run my fingers through her fine, grey curls and wipe the drips off the back of her neck so they didn’t run down her back and get on her cotton nightie and give her a chill.

My nan died the day after I had been there to visit. She had asked me to not only wash her hair but to blow dry it and then curl it after. We spent an extra bit of time together that evening, her perched in the little chair in the tiny bathroom in her room, just watching me in the mirror. Me, giggling as I pretended to be a high falutin’ hairstylist, telling her how hot she was. “Oh go on” she’d say, but I know she loved it.

Somedays, like today, I just want to get in my car and drive over to Nanny and Pipe’s house, make myself a roast beef and cheddar sandwhich, cozy in on the big brown couch, watch the weather channel with them and catch up on all the neighbourhood gossip. Before leaving, I would lean down over her now tiny body, take her hands and give her a big fat kiss, bug Pipe one more time about being deaf which, of course, he would always hear and follow with a “Shut it you”, clean up the kitchen for them even though they always told me not to and remind them to come and lock the door behind me.

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