The dinner we went to at Grandma’s house wasn’t a big deal, but when I think back, it’s where all of the emotional pain started to kick in.
My parents and I were a little late of course as always. I was riding with them, so it wasn’t that big of a deal to me, but Mom was quite upset by it.
“Ugh!” Was the sound Mom made angrily as we pulled into the driveway. “We’re late again! I’m going to hear this from her for about a week!”
Dad was calm as always and tried to keep her calm as well. “No, you won’t. You’re being a little overzealous it’s only ten minutes.”
“You’re not the one that talks to her on the phone every couple of days.”
My mother quieted down so that Grandma wouldn’t catch it as we got out of the car, and approached the front door. Grandma’s house had been the same one that she, and my grandpa had lived in for many years. I remember that my parents were worried about her coping, and still living in the same house that they shared for many years, but Grandma pulled through alright.
Mom let out a big sigh, and knocked on the front door ready to issue the apology as soon as the door opened.
“Sorry we’re late!” Mom said sheepishly.
“You’re off of the hook, this time, I put the casserole in the oven late.” My Grandma seemed prepared to reply.
I didn’t think much of it at the time. In reality, no one would have, but it was the first sign during that dinner, and the second instance that day that I knew of. We had all sat down at the table and had talked for only a couple of minutes when that sign had become something a little bit more than just a minor slip of time.
The fire alarm in the kitchen had gone off, and we all immediately noticed the smell of smoke. All three of them at the table looked confused, but only Dad and Grandma began to get up.
“That’s strange…” Grandma said.
“Don’t worry! I’ll check it out!” My dad had immediately interjected, trying to keep Grandma from having to get up. My grandmother, of course, got up anyway as Dad hurried into the kitchen.
“What is it?!” I could hear Grandma ask as she turned the corner into the kitchen.
“Just dinner. It’s nothing serious just a lot of smoke.” Dad had replied nonchalantly.
“It’s okay I can just order us a pizza while this cools.” My dad replied again.
“No! I can take care of dinner just fine myself!” She snapped.
It had become clear when I heard her say that my grandma was very angry. It was only one of a few times, and I didn’t know what to make of it. I simply sat there confused. Mom was even more confused than I was by the look on her face as she got up to check on them.
“Is everything okay Mom?” My mother asked in a very calm, and quiet tone. At this point, Grandma was in clear view dialing the phone for pizza off of a number on the fridge.
“Yes! You’ll just have to wait a little longer! Everything is fine!” Grandma snapped again. She was clearly still angry.
Dad put his hand around my mom and guided her back to the table while he whispered something to her I couldn’t quite make out.
The rest of the dinner was very quiet and awkward with my grandmother still annoyed the whole time. Most of it was spent to the mere muffled sound of us chewing on pizza, lifting glasses up and down from the table, and the occasional small generic conversations my dad would bring up trying to make it less awkward for everyone. He didn’t do the best job of it.
I had absolutely no idea what to make of it at the time, but I disregarded it as just an awkward night until we left. As soon as our car made it out of the drive way, Dad broke the awkward silence with the serious tone he rarely used.
“Honey, I know you don’t want too, but we need to talk about what happened back there. This isn’t the first time.”