Dinner at Grandma’s

Rosa Cochran '21, Literary guest writer

The dining room was dimly lit by the small chandelier that hung overhead. She strained to hear her grandson over the cacophony of forks against porcelain.

“And then in the second half, Jason ran straight into him and he broke his wrist. It was crazy!” He was starting to look more a man than a boy with subtle sprouts of hair on his upper lip. She remembered when her son, now sitting just off to Dylan’s right, had started shaving. She smiled to herself, recollecting her late husband’s excitement when first teaching his son how to hold the razor. Now Ed seemed the spitting image of his father as he sat, only he was distracted by the phone that had been buzzing facedown all evening, illuminating a bright rectangular ring on the tablecloth with each hiss.

“Oh my! You know… when you and your sister were little I would watch you and you’d always be causing trouble, getting yourselves hurt.” She attempted to connect with Dylan, but as she glanced around the table she caught the critical gaze of her daughter-in-law. She continued anyway, a bit frazzled, “One time, I went to answer the phone, I swear it was only a few minutes, and you and your sister were standing on top of all the furniture stacked up on each other! Oh boy, I was so shocked that you got up there it took me a bit to figure out how to get you down!” Janie grinned wide at her grandma, exposing the shiny metal that filled her smile. Her mother wasn’t amused, but she said nothing and continued prodding the chicken on her plate. Ed’s phone went off with a ring that made her jump in her seat. He shuffled off into another room to take the call and rushed back only a moment later.

“Ma, I’m so sorry but that was my boss. We gotta go now, I need to get back to the office to finish something up real quick.” She and Janie shared a look of utter disappointment, but her daughter-in-law swiftly grabbed her coat and made for the door. She never quite figured out why Diane disliked her so. Perhaps she was as everyone made her feel: clueless, forgetful, boring.

“Oh… well alright. Maybe you can come back next weekend? I’m free any time, sweetie.” Janie looked hopeful as she listened for her father’s reply.

“Ok ma, I’ll see what we can do.” She made sure she at least got to hug each of them on their way out, squeezing especially tight when Janie whispered I love you. She sulked back to the dining room where over half the food she had lovingly made was left untouched. She felt like crying as she scraped the food into the trash, but didn’t. She’d known pain worse than this and would again, so what was the point? She sunk down into the worn-out recliner where her husband once spent his evenings and flicked on the TV.