He strode up the steps with a grin as wide as the Mississipi, a cup the size of Texas in his hands. The bright contents were positively florescent. His teeth were cornflower blue. His tongue looked painted.
“I have a slushy!” he announced.
“I see!” I commented, amused.
“Nana got me,” he added.
I smiled. I didn’t think his mom – who kept close watch over her son’s intake of junk of any form – would have gotten him this “certainly-no-food-in-nature-has-this-color” slushy, let alone a bathtub of it.
“Mama’s not home,” the boy declared. “She coming back Friday.”
“In San-Francisco,” Nana made an appearance at the landing leading to the last flight of stairs. “Business meetings.” She was a little out of breath but seemed as ebullient as her grandson. Her arms were laden with the boy’s panda bear backpack, her purse, a shopping bag, a phone, and her own cup of icy drink. Coffee, from the looks of it.
“Nana taking care of me,” he stated the obvious. He snuck a conspiratorial grin at his grandmother. “We got candy!” he pointed to the bag.
“For after dinner,” she blushed.
“But I can have one now,” he clarified. “Nana said.”
Her blush deepened and I chuckled.
“For right now, how about you take another sip or two from your slushy, then we’ll put it in the fridge where it can stay cold while we work,” I said.
The boy deflated some and glanced at his grandma, maybe to see if she’ll support him in a mutiny if he refused to part with his icy treat.
“I’ll take a sip from my ice-coffee and we can put my cup in the fridge, too,” she soothed. “This way we’ll both have some for the ride home, too!”
He pondered, eyebrows still in a huddle. “But I can have candy, right?”
She looked at me. “It’s gummies.”
“Sure,” I nodded. “You can have one, like Nana said you could. The rest will wait in the bag for you.”
His smile returned and he slurped more of the blue liquid. Then we ceremoniously made room for it in the fridge. Even without the tall straw, it dwarfed Nana’s “grande” cup.
The boy wiped both hands on his shirt, reached into the shopping bag and dug out a yellow gummy shaped suspiciously like a spider. He laughed at my exaggerated fright. “You’re silly! It’s not real. It’s just candy!”
He stuffed it into his mouth and spoke around it as he shimmied to his seat. “We having pizza for dinner, and we’ll watch a whole movie after. With popcorn even!”
“Sounds like you two are making the most of it,” I laughed.
“She’s so strict with him,” the grandmother confided. “She’s a great mom, don’t get me wrong, but all this no this, no that …” She caressed her grandson’s cheek and lowered herself to the couch with a sigh. “These stairs!”
“A kid’s gotta’ live a little,” she added. Her eyes sparkled. “I have him for two days and I intend to do my very best to spoil him.”
For The Daily Post