When I was younger.
I used to spend weekends with my great grandmother.
Was she ever a spitfire.
Could tell the strangest and most terrifying and glorious bedtime stories.
Goats trip-tropping over stone bridges which hid trolls.
Old farm dogs getting their ears and tails cut off by drunken farmers.
And winds beckoning leaves to come and play across the meadows.
Would tickle-back-scratch me to sleep.
And if, by some chance, she happened to doze while in the process.
All she needed was a little nudge.
And her fingers would wake.
Made a mean grilled cheese sandwich with homemade french fries.
Crispy waffles, in which she'd let me drench in syrup.
And the sweetest sun steeped tea in a glass jar that once held apple juice.
And maybe a little saccharine.
Let me watch the soaps with her.
Even the episodes about rape and incest and murder.
And would even let me sneak in some MTV music video time.
Pretending she didn't notice.
Would walk that walk of hers all the way to Pic-N-Save.
Her wrists flipping, a shade umbrella in her hand.
With a promise that if I didn't run too far ahead along the stone wall.
I could pick out one of the dollar toys.
I could go on forever.
Because she is so entirely a part of me.
And I am her in so many ways.
But the one thing I remember most vividly.
Were the moments just before bed.
When she'd sit down before her vanity.
Patting the ottoman.
Inviting me to sit along the edge beside her.
And then reach for her jar of Merle Norman Cleansing Cream.
Slowly, she'd twist off the rose pink top.
Setting it to the side.
Then, with two fingers, she'd dip into the powder pink cream.
Scooping out a dollop.
A smell that will never, ever, vanish from my memory.
I would delight in those short moments.
Meme's long fingers gliding the cream over my cheekbones and chin and forehead.
Massaging the skin.
And together, we'd face the mirror and smile.
A set of marshmallow-faced women stared back.
Then she'd take a tissue and gently wipe off the layer.
Finally, blowing a cool breeze from her pinched lips onto my nose.
Sending a chill through my teeth and down to my toes.
Making me feel beautiful.
As if I carried secrets like Mrs. Darling did.
In the corners of my grin.
I want to be just like my great grandmother someday.
With you beside me.
Ready to gobble up my hor devours.
As we sip Tang on the terrace.