March 28th, 1989
Nana was first up this morning and we sat in the kitchen, making a dent in the Simnel cake, having a natter over a pot of tea. I rarely get the chance to spend time alone with Nana so it made a nice change.
“When did you say Ben’s coming back, hen?”
“Next Sunday, I can’t wait.”
“Aye, I can see you’re excited.”
“Nana, did you ever feel like that about a boy?”
She laughed. “Oh aye, I was young once myself you know.”
“Was it Granda?”
“Now, now that would be telling.”
“Oh go on, I’m twenty-two, you can tell me.”
“Och, now you’re making me feel old. You know sometimes when I look at you, I still see you as a wee lassie. That probably sounds silly to you doesn’t it?”
“No, it sounds really sweet. Maybe you see me like that because I’m your first grandchild.”
“That might be it.”
“So, was it Granda?”
I watched her look down at the table and smile. “You know, sometimes the first person you love isn’t necessarily the one you marry.”
“Oh, that’s interesting. Why not?”
“Well, that first flush of love can be very intense.”
In my best French accent, I cooed, “Ooh, and very passionate.”
She laughed. “Aye, that as well.”
“Do you think a love like that could burn itself out?”
“I wonder if that’s one of the reasons my mum isn’t hugely in favour of me staying with Ben?”
“You’re an awful wise lassie for your age. Always have been.”
“So you agree?” I asked.
“I think women hold a lot in their hearts they never share.”
“Who’s the wise one now?” I picked up the teapot and refilled our cups. “Nana, did you ever want to get married again after Granda passed away?”
“Oh no, not at all.”
“But you’ve been by yourself all these years.”
“Aye and that’s a choice I made.”
“I don’t remember much about him. I wish I did.”
“Well you wouldn’t, you were only three when it happened.” Her voice cracked slightly but she continued. “Just a wee tot.”
I stretched my hand across the table to hers. “Sorry Nana, I don’t want to upset you.”
“It’s fine hen.” She took a sip of her tea. “Some parts of life you keep tucked away and it’s a surprise when they come out again.”
Through the glass wall, looking into the hallway, I saw Ann’s small figure creeping down the stairs. Right before she came bounding into the kitchen I looked at Nana and mouthed, “Ann.”
“Surprise,” yelled Ann.
“Oh, you scared us!” I squealed.
“Did I?” she asked with a big smile.
“Och, that was an awful fright you gave me,” Nana said, placing her hand over her heart, trying not to laugh.
Ann pointed to the plate with the remains of the Simnel cake. “Can I have a wee bit of that?”
“What’s the magic word?” I asked.