• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 09

Waiting in the Rain

The last time we saw Gran, she was leaning into the window of Nate’s car. I can still see his girlfriend’s face—impatient, grumpy, mostly just because that’s who she was but also because she was eight months pregnant and constantly uncomfortable. They were leaving the baby shower Gran hosted at a cafe in the city. We waited for her on the sidewalk, full of finger sandwiches and scones and cup after cup of tea that we pretended to enjoy. Gran’s lined pink raincoat stood out against Nate’s brown car—gold, he always corrected us—and we were transfixed by how her red umbrella didn’t clash, something our mothers’ fashion magazines told us was a faux pas.

But that was Gran. She never followed the rules, which is why she threw a baby shower for two teenagers who would rather share a 40 of malt liquor instead of sip from filigree teacups. We stared at her massive leather purse that always held butterscotch for when we wanted a little something sweet. We looked at her bold shopping bag, deflated now, while an hour before, it was brimming with gifts and things the baby might need “just because.” Just because that’s how Gran was.

We stayed dry under the cafe’s awning, moving when a man pushed his way out into the rain. He stepped into an ankle-deep puddle and cursed loudly. We looked at him, then at each other with wide eyes. We thought of what would happen if we said that word aloud, how sharp the slap from Gran’s hand would feel against the back of our heads, brains rattling in our skulls. We looked up nervously—what if we had actually said it aloud?—but Gran was gone.