“Oh, fuck!” The exclamation shot from the garage all the way to the kitchen.
Mia’s eyes widened, and a little hand flew to her mouth to hide her smile. “Grampie swore again!” she whispered to her grandmother.
“I know,” said the older woman with a sigh. “He needs to watch his mouth!”
Mia giggled and grabbed another handful of raw cookie dough. Dutifully, she patted it into a little mound and placed it onto the baking sheet.
These weekends at her grandparents’ were the highlight of her little life so far. Every week brought a different batch of delicious cookies with Nana. Sometimes, she would slip into the garage and “help” her Grampie with his flower arrangements. She could even remember a time when he’d had a whole shop of his own to put them in.
She was just about to shape another cookie when she heard her grandmother exclaim, “Oh my!”
“What?” Mia asked.
“Look over there.” Her Nana pointed over to the counter on the far side of the room. Mia followed the line her finger made and saw a lone silk rose lying there. “Your Grampie must have forgotten it when he took his other flowers into the garage,” Nana continued. “Would you be a good girl and go bring it to him? Maybe you can even put it in the foam for him!”
Mia didn’t need to be asked twice. She hopped down from the table and toddled over to the counter. There, she was proud to show her grandmother what a big girl she was by reaching up and grasping the rose all by herself. After basking in her Nana’s smile of approval, she made her merry way to the garage, rose in hand.
Mia opened the door and stepped inside. The first things to greet her were the bunches and bunches of silk flowers, all arranged in vibrant patterns. They were so mesmerizing that, for a moment, she had forgotten why she’d come. Coming to, she looked around the room and spotted her grandfather.
“Hi, Grampie!” she said. He didn’t respond. He was busy, Mia reasoned.
Now, what had her grandmother said she could do? Put the flower in foam? Yes! That should be easy. She had learned what foam looked like recently, and it would show her Grampie yet again what a good girl she was.
It didn’t take her long to find some of this foam. In went the rose. It took some effort to get it to stay at an angle she liked, but she soon felt satisfied. And so, with a job well done, she let herself out and scampered back to the kitchen.
Some time later, Mia watched with a watering mouth as her grandmother moved some cookies from the baking sheet to a plate. “Your Grampie’s been working hard all day,” she said. “Why don’t we bring him some cookies?”
“Can I hold them?” Mia asked.
“No, I don’t think so,” said Nana. “They’re a bit too warm. Maybe the next plateful.”
“Okay.” Mia only huffed slightly as she slipped her hand into her grandmother’s and they journeyed together toward the garage.
“Can you open the door for me?” Nana requested. Mia was all too happy to oblige. The old woman smiled down at her grandchild and stepped inside.
The plate hit the floor with a crystalline crash. “Oh my God!” Nana shouted, her voice quavering. “Oh my God!”
“What?” Mia asked. “What happened?”
Her grandmother didn’t answer, but rushed to her husband’s side where he lay on the garage floor. She pulled the rose from his open mouth where Mia had left it and cast it aside. By now, Mia could see that the foam around her grandfather’s mouth had dried into a kind of crust.
She didn’t understand. Had she done something wrong?
Written by Jdeschene