He paced the room, back and forth, back and forth--not with
worry, mild concern.
He looked at his watch as if he had some place to be--late
for an appointment.
"Almost there," he said to himself, moving more quickly.
His watch buzzed; the illuminated screen indicated that a goal
"Stand up straight, neanderthal," chided a belittling
voice after he strode past a mirrored wall.
His Depression Era great godmother always reminded him that
she had to walk everywhere, rain or shine, when she was his
"Starting early in the morning, at sunrise, there was
fresh country air, always," she reminisced with joy.
She never liked city life, nor riding the trolley to get where
she needed to go.
"Then, before sunset, I had to get home, or else."
She paused and looked at him googly-eyed.
"Dinner, read, sleep--a good night's rest."
"The only book I'm allowed to have: the Bible, of course."
A mutual grimace was shared: one of disappointment; the other,
"Fix yourself a peanut and jelly."
He went into the kitchen, found the wheat loaf, took out a
slice, then smeared a tablespoon of each: extra crunchy and
concord grape. He folded the bread in half.
"Don't forget the moo," she shouted from the
He grabbed almond milk from the refrigerator and zero percent
Greek yogurt. He poured himself eight ounces, scooped a half
cup, then stirred until the bacterial fermentation blended.
"Make sure you put the sandwich on a plate. Sit down;
I better not catch you eating at the counter.
He logged the calories while he ate and drank.
"When you're finished, put the dishes in the sink. I'll
wash them later, but don't forget to use soap on your hands.
Did you return everything else back where they belong?!"
A teenager, he hated being treated like a child. However, she
did have eighty years on him, he figured. So, he did what she
asked without a huff.
His watch buzzed.
"Would you mind going upstairs and get my book?"
After he handed to her the scriptures, she sent him back to
bring her reading glasses--and again to retrieve her quilt.
"Bring me a glass of water," she commanded.
He placed a coaster beneath the glass and positioned them on
the reading table beside her.
"Getting a workout, huh. Better find some water for yourself,"
she advised, trying not to chuckle for giving him the runaround.
He trudged back into the kitchen, returned and sat on the couch.
He drank the water without gulping. Not wanting to find another
coaster, he put the glass in the sink. Becoming exhausted with
this, this circumstance, he yawned when he sat down again.
He checked his social media, while she read her passages. He
scrolled with his index finger, she skimmed hers across the
page. She whispered the sentences; some words she uttered emphatically,
dramatically as the scene played out in her mind. He sighed
through his nose not finding anything to tap on the screen;
his mind, elsewhere.
"Stop slouching! Sit up straight!"
"Sorry, I dozed off."
Not believing his excuse, she recognized the inattentiveness
within him, let alone her.
"When are your parents coming to pick you up?"
He stared blankly at the wall, wrinkled his lips, and upon
exhalation flared his nostrils.
"They're not coming to getcha?!"
Looking into his godmother's eyes, he stated, "No. I'm
taking public trans home."
"Oh, so they dropped you off to make sure you got here.
Now you have to fend for yourself. Is that right."
"Something like that."
"And you're more than a trolley's ride away."
"Yeah, I should start on my way. I have to transfer to
a bus. If I miss this one, then I have to wait two hours for
the next: Sunday schedule."
"Probably faster if you walked home."
His watch buzzed.
She looked at the gadget strapped to his wrist. With a wry
face that morphed into a bight-eyed loving smile, she chimed,
"I guess you better get steppin'. You've got a goal to
"Yes. See you, next week."