Afro Poetry Times
Grace opened the door and swept me into her arms. I hugged her tightly.
“You don’t look a day over 70,” I said. And she chuckled.
But I couldn’t help noticing she seemed different – her bones were sticking out and she felt like a little bird. It saddened me to realise I wouldn’t have her in my life for much longer.
“Aren’t you wonderful?” she said, her blue eyes sparkling. “Victoria said you’re making Peking duck. And I can’t remember the name of the dessert, but it sounds wicked. All that chocolate and cream!”
I bit the inside of my lip. Surely Aunt Grace was mistaken?
“Where’s Victoria?” I asked. Did my cousin have the nerve to say this to my face?
“She’s running late and asked if you could have dinner ready by 7.30pm. The recipes are on the kitchen bench.”
My cheeks felt hot. I could’ve exploded. But it was Grace’s birthday and none of this was her doing.
GRACE and I shared a pot of tea at the kitchen table before I started dinner. “Do you remember that blue party dress I made you one Christmas?” Grace asked.
“I hid it in my schoolbag one day and wore it at school.” I smiled at the memory. “I thought Mom wouldn’t find out. But
I fell over playing cricket and tore the lace edging.” I’d actually torn the front of the dress but had never confessed that to Grace.
“Our sewing lessons were fun, weren’t they?” she continued. “Do you still sew?”
“When I can find the time. I’m hoping I can come over soon and use your old treadle machine. Mine’s broken down. I think it’s given up the ghost this time.” I rummaged in my handbag for the sample of linen I’d found in the draper’s shop. “I’ve bought three metres of this. Do you like it?”
She fingered the soft cloth lovingly. “I wish I could still sew. My eyes aren’t good enough anymore.”
“I haven’t decided what to do with this. But I had to buy it. It’s so fresh and summery.”