Her Old Gran
“Oh my god, is she growing pot?” David whispered.
“Duh, no. Course not.” Ginny replied.
“Well, then, what is it?”
“It’s… a vine. Of some description.” She rolled her eyes at him. “I don’t know, but it’s not pot. Why would an old lady want pot?”
“For medicinal purposes!” He blurted, almost forgetting to keep his voice low. “Does she have arthritis?”
“NO!” She said out loud, to his dismay. Then, quieter: “No, she does not have arthritis. Does she look like she had arthritis? Does she look like she has anything physically wrong with her at all?”
“You mean aside from being old as fuck?” He replied. “She’s pretty on the ball, actually, for an old lady. Must be all the pot.”
“It isn’t pot!”
“It isn’t what, dear?” Said Ginny’s mother’s mother, from her spot in the doorway.
David and Ginny stared at her for a second, then Ginny recovered.
“We were just arguing about that vine climbing up the trellis.” She said, indicating the plant and structure just at the corner of the patio where they sat. “What is it, Gramma?”
“Oh, I don’t know, your Pop-pop put that in the year before he died. I don’t think I ever did know what it was, but it’s tenacious.” She looked at the creeper, silent for a moment. Then she came to herself. “I just wanted to ask you both whether you would like some cake? Mrs Ermin brought a Victoria Sponge over to share yesterday lunchtime, but I’ll never get through what’s left on my own.”
“Oh, yes please!” Ginny replied.
“That’d be lovely.” David followed.
When they were on their own again, the argument resumed.
“Why are you so down on old people?”
“Why do you go down on old people?”
“Har. Har.” She grimaced. “Are you..? Oh, wow, you’re actually so pleased with yourself, aren’t you?”
“Maaaybe.” He responded, a little more mellow now. “Anyway, I don’t know why. I guess my grandparents just weren’t around much when I was a kid, and I never got used to the weird old person smell, or their skin. It looks like it’d be so rough, but it’s soft. Seriously, I mean freakishly soft. Like velvet.”
“So your main problem with them is that they feel nice?”
“Well, uh… I guess. You don’t think that’s a bit sinister? They’ve normally had such long, hard lives, with all the shit they must have had to deal with, and they come out of it smelling of perfume and feeling like a puppy’s belly?”
“When you put it like that, I suppose maybe you’re an idiot.”
“Oh HAR HAR back.” He wrinkled his nose, sulking a little. “So you really don’t think there’s something weird about having all that experience and coming out the end so sweet and serene?”
“Not really.” She got up, kissed him roughly above the hairline, and made for the back door of the house. “I need the loo. Just try to cope with your fear.”
Sitting alone, David’s boredom kicked in quickly. He stood, and looked closer at the crawling plant, wrapping itself around the wooden frame.
“Like either of us even knows what pot looks like.” He muttered.
“Tea’s up!” The old lady’s voice intruded on his thoughts. She saw his shoulders jerk. “Oooh, sorry, did I make you jump?”
“Oh, no, no, it’s fine.” He replied. “Mmm, tea.”
Ginny’s grandmother sat down, and patted the chair next to her for him to sit as well. He did as he was told. She seemed pretty small and manageable from where he was standing, and he wondered whether maybe she wasn’t such a bad specimen of old age after all.
“Help yourself.” She said, indicating the three small stacked plates, and the swollen sponge cake. “She’s a bit of a bore, but old Mrs Ermin does make exceedingly good cakes.”
They both laughed, David finding it easier to do than he’d imagined. That was when she put her hand on his thigh.
“Uh.” He said.
“You’re a good enough young man,” she said, her voice light, “aren’t you? Good enough for my Ginny.”
“Uh.” He repeated. “I think I should…”
“I think you’re good enough for my Ginny. But if you ever disrespect my shit again, I will end you.” A deep grin broke across her soft downy face.
“What did you..?” He started.
“How are you two doing?” Said Ginny, breaking in on his stammering. “Bonding?”
“Oh, yes, very well indeed.” The old lady said.
Ginny sat down, and raised a cup. The rest of the afternoon went swimmingly.
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