Fiction

More of That Pearl

So what’s going to happen to Grandma Pearl’s house and farm? Oh. Are you lost? Did you miss the lead-up to this part? Worry not thyself! I’ve got ya. Just click here soh and right yah soh. Go ahead. Please. Take your time. We’ll wait for you. . .

Now, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, let’s look in at what our two favourite twins are up to:

Grandma Pearl: Twin Power

Justin and I are sitting on the whitewashed red bricks of Grandma’s rose garden. Her rose garden is surrounded by bricks and Guinea grass. The Guinea grass is as high as our knees. Tallman hasn’t come to cut the grass yet, even though Grandma reminds him every single time he walks past the house. All he says is, “Soon come, Miss Pearlie, soon come.” Apparently, Tallman needs fuel for his lawn mower but seems to be having trouble reaching the fuel station. I am surmising.

Grandma’s rose garden doesn’t have roses. It has hibiscus—plenty hibiscus—and shame old lady. It has tuna plant, shrimp plant and sinkle bible. The cherry tree is smack in the middle and sticks out like a sore thumb.

When visitors stop in, they usually ask Grandma for a piece of sinkle bible, which oftentimes leads to a predicament. Grandma rarely buys newspaper, so she can hardly find a sheet to wrap up cuttings. It’s usually while she’s inside the house, searching high and low, that her visitors raid the cherry tree. They don’t ask permission. They just pluck off the cherries as much as one hand can carry or, if they’re like Miss Fee Fee from Malvern side, as much as their blouse tail or shirt tail can carry. Miss Fee Fee doesn’t hide her plunder. She eats it in front of Grandma, on the verandah, and spits the chewed-up seeds in her hand middle.

My hair is in pink and green setters. Grandma washed it this morning after we had our Milo tea. Yesterday, she went to Junction to Miss Helen’s salon to touch up her roots with a relaxer. She typically goes against Miss Helen’s advice to sit under the hair dryer. Grandma says Miss Helen’s hair dryer is hellfire. It burns off people’s ears! “And if yuh stay under it long enough,” she says, “it will roast off yuh whole face.”

Twice Grandma’s ears were burned off. She says never again will she subject herself to such torture. So she leaves the salon in setters and airdries her hair at home. Miss Helen is not very happy about that, even calls Grandma “defiant.” Plus she says Grandma’s hair would come out straighter and hold curls better if the hair was dried properly under the hair dryer. I don’t know that I agree with Miss Helen. I love Grandma’s hair, and, to me, it looks just fine.

My hair is drying in the sun. After Grandma shampooed it, she conditioned it with rosemary water. It will most likely take the entire day to dry, even though I don’t have much hair on my head. It’s shorter than my neck. Last summer, Grandma sent me to the barber at Miss Helen’s to bald it off so that it would grow fuller and stronger. If not for me wearing a dress to church, the congregants wouldn’t know me differently from Justin. It was then that Grandma pierced my ears. It was the hottest thing in life. I cried all the way home. Brother Farquharson brought me sky juice to help my ears cool off.

Justin and I are huddled together. It’s our secret meeting. We’re trying to figure out how to get Grandma to America. And we’ve been sitting here for ten minutes already and still can’t think of a strategy.

“Write to the embassy,” Justin suddenly says.

“And tell them what?”

“I don’t know.”

Everybody tells me how well I write—Grandma, my grade-three teacher, Miss Becky and Parson too—but this migration business is hard work to write about. This is above my pay grade, as Mr. Leakey would say.

To be continued. . .

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