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#976151 added February 23, 2020 at 10:50am
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Grandfather's Cup
Grandfather's Cup

There is a thump on the floor which is coming from the sitting room. Both Grandma and I know exactly what that means. Grandfather is growing impatient and is banging his stick down on the concrete. We've come to see it as a warning, for that stick will be striking out at one or other of us if we don't get a move on.

"Careful, now," Grandma warns me. "Some things cannot be rushed." I didn't miss the look of disdain she aimed at the wall that separated us from Grandfather and his short temper.

I place the teaspoon to the right side of his teacup, while I put it on the left side of Grandma's and mine. The tray looks nice and tidy, with the teacups and the plate of biscuits. I'll have to be careful, carrying it in, for it wouldn't do for me to spill a drop.

Another bang and I pick the tray up, walk slowly and carefully towards the door. My Grandma gives me a smile of encouragement as she opens the kitchen door for me.

"Sorry, Grandfather. I spilled some milk and had to clean it up quickly, otherwise it might have left a bad smell." It's only a little lie, and he'll never know better. The idea of him noticing the smell of milk gone bad brings a slight smile to my lips; he reeks of tobacco and sweat so much that he'd never notice.

"Hmmpf," he says, showing his displeasure, but I am close to him with the tray and should he lash out he knows the hot tea might land in his lap. It is that that still his hand, not any feelings for me.

Grandma sits down while I pass out the tea. Grandfather's first, of course, for he is master of the house. My hands tremble slightly but not enough to cause a spill.

Finally, I take a seat, sip my tea and try not to look at Grandma or Grandfather. Instead, I start talking about the sparrows I can see through the window.

He coughs, just once, but quite violently. I try not to look but I cannot resist taking a peek. He has spilled his tea, and it now runs in a waterfall, staining his clothes as it trickles away. Grandfather's face is puce green and screwed up in pain. He has had to let go of his stick for both of his hands clutch at his throat. He coughs again and tries to rise to his feet. Both Grandma and I ignore him.

Grandfather might have ruled the house, but she ruled the kitchen; I knew exactly what was in his cup for I put it there, watched over by the caring eyes of my Grandma.

(460 words.)

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