Breaking from my thoughts, I smiled back at the woman who raised me. There were kids in this world who were alive because of her croup remedies. Women alive who might have died during childbirth. Men burned severely but healed by the gentle touch of my grandmother. And there were hearts, so many hearts that she had touched, provided answers and advice to, but most of all were honored and cherished by this dear servant of God.
“We were given our gift to serve, Brandywine” she said while reading my thoughts.
“I will never be as good as you. I will never touch people the way that you do,” I responded.
“You have a different path, my darlin’. I’ve known it since you kicked me through your mother’s belly three days before you were born. I knew that you would be more like my daughter than my granddaughter and that you would help and be helped by those you served.”
She patted my cheek.
“Now, enough of this melancholia. We’ve got beans to pick.”
Two hours later, my back was hurting. My legs were tighter than if I’d been through a 3 hour spin class. The woman was a tyrant, an out and out tyrant with a rototiller. For someone as round and old as she was, she could work circles around me.
I was bent over hand weeding parsnips, when I heard footsteps.
“Damn girl, that is a fine piece of ass.”
I straightened up and spun around, my back protesting as I did. I spun so fast and was so overcome by the quick stab of pain that I stumbled, right into my ex boyfriend, Cary Ellis.
Holding me close to his body, he whispered, “For a moment I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Now I see that I am very much alive, and heaven has fallen on top of me.”
“Gag me with a spoon. Get your creepy hands off of me!” I shoved him away. “What the Hell do you want?” I demanded.
“I’m here to see Granny Todd. My dog has arthritis pretty bad and she said she’d whip up something to help,” he explained.
“It’s right here, mister,” my grandmother said as she walked out of her shed. “And I appreciate you keeping Brandy from falling on her face - even if she didn’t appreciate it,” she gave me a side glance.
She’s always really liked Cary and has on more than one occasion told me that I will marry him. I threaten her with a nursing home when she says things like this.
I’ve known Carrington Ellis since we were children. His mother is an herbalist and she and Granny get together to compare notes and trade plants on occasion. She would bring him and his two younger brothers with her when we were all little. He also sat next to me in Sunday school and would regularly tie my braids to the chair without my knowledge. He was my first kiss, my first love, and my first lover. And he was my first broken heart when he cheated on me with the Homecoming Queen.
I left town and headed to New York when I found out. After a few years on the chorus lines, I moved to Vegas, where I enjoyed a steady paycheck and a gambling addiction. I came back 18 years later when Granny Todd was seriously ill with pneumonia.
Almost as soon as I came back into town, Cary started sniffing around. My heart says that it’s time to let bygones be bygones. My head says to run over him with my new Cadillac.