[For Doreen Benjamin]
What was I doing? I was cleaning the microwave tray from excess milk. Why? Well, because the milk boiled over. But I wasn’t crying; no one was. At least they weren’t anymore. But let me explain; You see, this spilled milk was over two weeks in the making. It was yet another turn in a series of unfortunate events which led me to that moment of taking that simple step, with my sister casually looking on opening the little door to the microwave, peering in, and then throwing my head back to look to the heavens in a proverbial
“OHHH Jesus Please… (take the wheel)” Which prompted my sister to abandoned me after her initial sharing in the groan of frustration.
But why two weeks? The fact is that this spilled milk could be traced back and blamed solely on one thing, and one thing alone…
Mm hm. That foulness that collects on the lungs and that is of no benefit to the world or humankind whatsoever. This ‘P’ word is to blame for my moment of woe.
But allow me to divulge a titbit of backstory.
Had my Grandmother not contracted Pneumonia, I, or any of my other family members, would not have been at my Uncle’s flat to begin with to aid in the matriarch’s recovery, after she’d spent a tiresome long-weekend in hospital. Not a slight thing by any means; waking up and not knowing where you are with no one familiar around; this coming after a hazy and delirious few days, involving a backache inducing overnight vigil (by said Uncle) and a somewhat unconscious ride in an ambulance.
So there I was, making a round of coffee for several of us. My uncle meanwhile, had stolen himself away from ironing some of his Sunday best shirts, and was now attempting to turn on the geyser. We wanted to give Granny a relaxing bath earlier, but my uncle’s attempt to reprogram the geyser’s timer had only succeeded in making it fail to come on at all. So there he stood, behind me in the kitchen, leaning precariously on a small wooden stool to reach the geyser’s control panel. Then he asks me, over his shoulder, to run inside and switch off the iron. And so I did. Low and behold the iron was there in the back room, huffing and puffing away like it was dying of thirst.
And so, that jog to the room, unplugging the iron, and making the return journey had cost me a minute, and one could not pass by Gran’s room without checking in (costing me several more precious seconds). The consequences of which were evident at the opening of the microwave.
SO, you see, had Pneumonia not struck down my Gran, she would not be recovering at my Uncle’s place, he would not have been stretching to reach the control panel (during a session of earnest ironing) and I would not have been there to make some cups of coffee that required milk at an above-than-ambient temperature…
Hence, no milk would’ve spilled.
As it is, or was, many prayers were said before the milk boiled over, and many since (from around the globe mind you).
The old Lady (I shan’t reveal her age… ladies take issue with these sort of things) is on the mend, stubborn as always, craving ice cream and Ginger beer whilst smuggling sugar replacement sachets for her afternoon tea. Although it must be said she was preparing herself for her date with Jesus whilst curled up on a gurney a week prior (I would be too mind you), but she has not sung her last song just yet… and she does love to sing.
Thanks to Jesus for taking the wheel, healing a loved old lady… a family can draw nearer.
And so, Pneumonia and spilled milk aside, there are some deep positives to this tale: beauty that runs deeper than tired legs, battered lungs and a tray of medication . . . but runs through heart and mind and soul, witnessed in moments and memories - a soothing bath, combing of hair, or sharing a warm meal at a table a half a century old.
An old lady fell
And a family rallied around her, to share in this fragile and mysterious thing we cling onto, holding on so dearly, when its most flagrant.
--- God Bless you all.
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