When I was a little girl, how I loved to go to my grandmother’s house! She had a pink guest room and a big fluffy bed piled high with pillows. I had a little dresser drawer all my own, where grandma kept a set of pajamas just for me.
I took a pan of cookies out of the oven and checked the clock. Adri would be coming over any minute now. While I moved the cookies from the hot pan onto the rack I remembered how my grandmother used to always have a special tin filled with my favorite baked treats.
When I came over, Grandma would pour me a big glass of milk, and I’d sit down at the table and eat cookies while we talked. It was hard at home, with my dad out of work and my mother gone so much, and always tired and worried whenever she was there. Grandma’s house was a perfect escape. She always made me feel like a princess.
I went to the guest room to make sure the bed was ready for Adri. I took down another pair of pillows from the closet and set them by the head of the bed. Pajamas in the drawer, washed and folded and put away since her last visit, a toothbrush waiting for her in the cup by the sink. I smiled at my white-haired reflection in the bathroom mirror and thought how it didn’t seem so long ago that I was the grand-daughter.
Grandma had a special set of dolls that she had collected. They had costumes from all over the world. She would let me take them out of their glass case, look at them one by one, take off their shoes and dresses and put them back on ever so carefully. We would pretend they were talking to each other, telling each other of their adventures.
Dinner was nearly ready, and still no Adri. I sighed at the clock again, then went out the front door to look down the street. She lived only two blocks away, near enough that she often biked over on her own. The street was empty.
My grandmother had a special set of dishes for me when I came over. They had roses on them. After dinner, when we’d wash up, she would put them back in their special place in her china cabinet.
I’d just finished setting the table when my cell phone rang. My heart thumped a little harder as I saw Adri’s name flashing on the screen. “Hi, Grandma?” Adri’s voice came over the phone.
"Hi, Sweetie,” I said. “I’m ready for you to come over.”
“I’m sorry, Grandma, I can’t make it tonight,” Adri said. “I’ve got a big project for school due on Monday, and there was soccer all day today so I haven’t started yet, and mom says I have to clean my room too before I can come.”
“That’s all right, darling,” I said, trying to hide the cave-in inside me. “We’ll try again in a couple weeks.”
“That’ll be great, Grandma. Thanks. Love you!”
“Goodbye, dearest,” I listened to the silence, then gently closed my phone.
I sat down at the table and stared at the empty dishes, and for the first time thought that maybe my grandma had needed me just as much as I needed her.