I keep up a cracking pace all morning to get as much done as possible before the heat kicks in. The children play, noisy but happy as they have far more capabilities in the morning than later in the day. All the while Nonna sits on the sofa in the sitting room which functions like the main thoroughfare of the house. She holds a single torn sheet from a Garfield comic book. By mid morning at snack time, I’ve done just enough to get by, as good enough just has to do these days. I nip back into the sitting room just to check but she’s still there, static. I hover for a moment, indecisive as usual, bathed in early sweat. She beams and I surrender, “so Maddy!”
“Would you like a coffee and a snack?”
“No I’m quite appy ere……watching.”
“I thought you were reading?”
“No……..I just watch……it’s like watching dah tennis.”
“You! Back and forth and back and forth…….always so busy I tink.”
I give up and plop onto the sofa next to her. “I used to be so busy too…..” Her shaky hands finger the page the way they normally manipulate a hanky, constant movement. Hopefully calming, repetitive, familiar. I’m always fine until I stop. Because I’ve stopped I can’t help but yawn. She blinks at me, offended but up on her feet, unsteady, as she makes her way towards the kitchen. I skip after her in my size tens.
In the kitchen she is assaulted by the smell of fish, something she absolutely loathes, and mistakenly left by the coffee machine to cool. “Wot is dat terrible smell?”
“Fish pie. It’s for her birthday. It’s her favourite.”
“Disgusting. I’ll just have bread.”
“It’s o.k. I made you a chicken pot pie. This little one here.”
“Why so small?”
“It’s just for you, for one. Everyone else will have the fish pie.”
“Not me. Just bread. Where is dah bread?” She seems close to tears but I’m not sure if it’s fear or fury or frustration. I suspect it’s also mutual. I remember by “bible” readings but I am truly out of my depth.
“It’s just here, by the coffee maker, but it’s not supper time yet.”
“Only dat little bit……you will make some more?”
“You make it now?”
“In a bit.” She rests her arms on the counter and shakes her head slowly, despair?
“I don know………I tink maybe you want me to starve!”
Dear Lord! I blink and swallow hard, close to the edge without a clue. The hub bub continues all around whilst we exist in this one tiny little bubble, stunned. Then she shoves me, gently as she breaks into a smile. “I tease you! You silly goose!” she beams as she gathers loose flesh around her midriff. “I tink I got a long way to go yet before I starve.” She’s surely saved me this time, but it’s sobering. “Why dah long face? You worry too much you do.” She walks away with a coffee, pulls a biscuit out of her pocket and calls over her shoulder “I know what you do……kill me off with sugar temptations!” chuckles the diabetic.
4 hours ago