All three of this weeks’ prompts are here, but only one is obvious: You can learn a lot from books; The gypsy woman said; It won’t be available until April 1st
Darius stood staring at his grandson Nate for a long time from the living room window. The boy had not moved from his spot on the front porch stairs for two hours.
That poor damn kid, Darius thought. He glanced at this watch. He glanced again. It wasn’t quite lunchtime, but he had to do something.
As he made two turkey sandwiches from Thanksgiving leftovers, wrapped them in paper towels, and put them in a grocery bag, Darius racked his brain, thinking of what to do. He took two sodas from the back porch cooler, grabbed the grocery bag with the sandwiches, put on his coat and walked out onto the front porch.
“C’mon,” Darius said as he walked down the stairs past Nate. He stopped long enough to hand the boy a jacket and one of the sodas, then kept walking.
His head bent down, Nate pulled on his jacket and walked over to his Darius’ car parked in the driveway.
“Nate!” The boy looked up to see Darius half way down the block. “Not driving anywhere.”
Darius waited for Nate to catch up. “Put some pep in that step. Hurry it up!” Head still down, Nate complied with a slow jog.
“Where we going?” Nate asked.
“I made us some sandwiches and, well, I thought we’d walk down to the river park, and, I don’t know, have ourselves a picnic. It’s not raining, the sun’s out, nice day for a walk.” Darius paused, then said, “Then, I need to go to the library for a couple books I reserved. We can check out a movie while we’re there. What’ya think? Your choice.”
Nate said nothing. The two walked in silence the rest of the way to the park.
Darius led them to a picnic bench. As they ate their sandwiches and drank their sodas, Darius stared out at the river, searching for something to say.
“Did I do a good job, with that sandwich?” he asked. Nate nodded.
Darius let another minute go by, but decided maybe he should leave well enough alone. The boy will snap out of it, or he won’t. At least Darius could say he tried.
“How’d you learn to cook a turkey?” Nate asked.
Surprised at the out-of-no-where question, Darius gave his grandson a broad, toothy smile. “Well, I’m not afraid to tell ya, I learned everything I know from an old gypsy woman.”
Nate did not speak. His face was the same sad expression he had since his arrival. Poor damn kid, Darius thought again. He wondered if his wife had yet had any success finding their daughter.
As Darius continued to gaze at his grandson, he noticed Nate’s face slowly, almost imperceptibly change. Darius saw an inkling of a twinkle in Nate’s eyes.
“I remember coming out here to this park for an Easter Egg hunt,” Nate said.
“Ah, sure. I guess. You’d a’been just a little tyke at the time.” Darius replied.
“Mom said that a gypsy woman hid the eggs, not the Easter Bunny.”
“Yeah?” Darius smiled. His infamous gypsy woman was responsible for a lot of silly things in his family’s life.
“Gramps, do you think I’ll still be here at Easter?”
“Well,” Darius began, then paused while he, again, struggled to know what to say, “I don’t know. Your Mom, she…Well, I’m just glad we’re here and, son, me and Gran are happy to have you with us. You don’t worry about that. Gran’ll call as soon as she’s…as soon as she….” Darius stopped, and gave Nate a quick squeeze around the shoulders. “You just hang in there, Natey-boy, OK? Gran and Gramps got’cha covered.”
Nate nodded, and to Darius’ relief, the boy smiled. Nate gathered their empty soda cans, paper towels and grocery bag and took them to the trash can.
“C’mon, Gramps,” he yelled back at Darius. “Let’s go!”
As Darius caught up to Nate, he gave him a soft punch in the arm.
Nate said, giggling, “Gypsy woman teach you to hit like that?”
“All right, all right,” Darius laughed.