It’s my last year of high school and, thanks to all these early mornings, I’ve become more of a coffee person. Sorry Baba. I still have tea whenever I visit my Dad. Today, as I sat in my father’s kitchen, I cupped the large mug filled with black tea, one quarter homo milk, no sugar, and lifted it towards my lips. I sat and gazed upon our newly added artwork that hung above our kitchen table. Cool toned colours filled the golden frame; a couple of green lily pads seized by winter’s frozen fractals. I took a sip of my tea and the warmth traveled down my throat, thinking about the liveliness and excitement of a pond during it’s warmer seasons, fish, frogs, flies and billions of unknown organisms bringing the ecosystem to life. Birds, especially ducks (they’re my favourite), create a harmonic atmosphere for the pond’s passing spectators. My uncle took this photograph during a particularly frost winter month. The pools’ vibrancy was in hibernation. The winter cold chased some of its life away. I thought of my Grandma…
Grandma had always been the stereotypical grandmother. So kind hearted, clever, and a great cook. The only time I can ever remember her getting upset with me was when I knocked one of her plant pots on the floor. I cannot remember if I had done it intentionally or not, but that was the day I learnt what “pissed off” truly meant.
“Yes, Léa,” she noted as she gathered the broken pieces into her palm.
“Grandma,” My big blue eyes looking up at her, “did that piss you off?” I asked.
“Oh yes,” she confirmed, “you’ve pissed Grandma off.”
Her home had a comfortable familiarity to it: The television was either playing Golf or Curling, the tacky couches were littered with cat hair, the fireplace was always on, and my uncle’s icy snapshot was mounted above the entryway. These were the artefacts that essentially shaped this home into Grandma’s very own.
I took off my shoes and, as always, Grandma was at the door to greet us. Dressed in a long light blue nightgown that left nothing but her slippers peeking through, like presents under a Christmas tree. Her eyes lit up like twinkling lights and her smile grew as we all piled into her tiny entrance. I gave Grandma a monster hug, “Hi, Grandma,” I roared. “What’s for supper?” Grandma made the best food ever. We visited her at least once a week, sometimes for tea and cookies, sometimes for a full-meal. Whatever it was, we always left with a smile and a full belly.
Grandma replied, “You will have have to wait and see,” as she gestured towards the hallway— the path that lead to the kitchen. My sister and I slid around in our mismatched socks until we reached the kitchen. The room smelt of pot roast and—soon— potatoes. Grandma makes the best mash potatoes… ever. Depending on who helped Grandma last week, my sister and I would take turns helping her prepare the dish. First wash them, then peel them, and then mash them. We were pros at mashed potatoes.
The dinner table was perfectly set for six: Baba, Grandma, Grandpa-Jack, Mia, and me. The head of the table is where Jack and Grandma always sat. Of course, my sister Mia and I always managed to bicker over who should sit where.
That’s when Baba stepped in, “Girls.”
That was usually enough for us to give it up. We quickly picked our seats and eagerly awaited the landing of our dinner plates.
“This looks great, Mom,” muttered my Dad, Baba, as Grandma placed the meals under our beaks. The steam framed our faces and warmed our cheeks.
Dinner-table conversations were always different. Sometimes we discussed school, told stories, or talked politics. My sister and I never paid much attention to the adult conversations though, we whispered about our thoughts.
Grandma finished her first mouthful, “What did you learn at school today, girls?”
We hesitated, “nothing really.” I think that question was asked of us every single day until I reached middle school.
She finished her bite, “What do you mean you learned nothing?” She asked.
“Well,” I looked up and thought real hard, “we’re starting to learn multiplication,” I answered, “But I’m not good at it. I thought there was just plus and minus.” “Just wait till you start learning long division,” Grandma chuckled.
My eyes widened. I was too scared to ask what that even meant.
Every time my dad would look away, Mia and I would try and transfer our Brussels sprouts onto his dish. We giggled as if he never even noticed, but he knew.
When we finished dinner, we helped Grandma clean up. Then is time for tea and, if we ate all of our dinner, cookies.
“Who wants tea?” asked Grandma as she collected our plates.
“Me, please!” replied Baba, handing over his dish. My dad drank tea religiously.
I wanted to be like my dad, if that meant drinking tea, so be it. “Me too, please” my sister and I shouted. We never once reached the bottom of our cups but we always finished our sweets.
I stopped recollecting and looked down at my tea. It was beginning to cool, so naturally I began to drink a little faster. I thought of fractals. My dad had taught me the significance of this word— fractal. They’re present in many different aspects of life as we know it, from snowflakes, to trees, even galaxies. They are all constructed of similar reoccurring patterns, but at the same time, are so profoundly complex and different. Who came up with such an mesmerizing idea? I peeked back up at the mounted mixture of infinite interconnecting webs. Going to Grandmas was not unlike the reoccurring patterns found in fractals. I didn’t realize this photo’s negative was also a recurring memory until now. It lived in my mind, heart, and soul. I, like Grandma, was a melted snowflake, never-ending and ever-changing.
I successfully reached the bottom of my teacup— I miss you Grandma.