Grandmother was not pleased at all when our father got a better job more in the south of the country. She made that very clear to our parents. We could hear these things while sitting on the edge of the stairs. And we could hear the negotiations too. So Big Sister and me knew already we would stay in our grand parents house for some months on our own before they were ready to tell us.
We were called by our parents for a talk and they explained what was going to happen. Our father got a far better job way down south. He had been travelling at the weekend between the place he was working and where we were living for a year. Even we could see that this was physically impossible. It was killing him. So the family was going to move to the city where he was working.
But the family was moving in February and that was a difficult time for school kids they said. It was far better for us to end the school year in the old school and then join the rest of the family. It was only till July and our grandparents were so very happy to take care of us in that period. We were 6 and 10 years old, so we were supposed to nod in agreement with this arrangement.
It was not a happy time for us. I hated everything about the city I was born in and we both missed our parents and our little sisters very much. Grandma missed the rest of the family too and she did nothing to conceal this. Coming from school she would be very inviting with tea and cookies, but the talks along with this were very disturbing for us. “Everybody is leaving me! In the end you will leave me too. I see the future quite clearly. You’ll be driving in your sports car through this street and you will point at this house and you will say something like: There’s an old pathetic woman living over there!” We assured her over and over again that this would never happen, but she would only shook her head and put on her favourite radio programme. It was called “The club with no name” and they played songs about orphans dying on the graves of their parents and children being beaten up by drunks.
Weeks went by and we never heard anything from our parents. We never knew if grandma hid away letters or if they were never written. We kids would eat our dinner in silence and count the days. But they seemed endless!
Grandma really took care of us and saw to it that we had proper meals. So we always would have some kind of dessert. So one day we had rice pudding. Big Sister and I didn’t have a nice day at school; we were not in the best of moods. And rice pudding was not really one of our favourites.
Together we were sitting at the table, listening to songs about a poor person who stole a bread for his hungry family and then died in prison. The next song was about a few kids that were left in the woods to starve by their poor parents.
Big Sister had tears in her eyes and said that she thought grandma hated us. Why else would she give dessert to us with mucus in it. I must have put on big eyes, so she showed me. She put her spoon in it and lifted it a bit above the pudding. The content of the spoon really came off in a slimy form! We both looked at it in disgust. Big Sister suspected more: they will leave us over here forever! We will never see Mama, Papa and the little girls again!
Tears were filling her eyes and I started to sob too. Soon we both were crying our eyes out and the tears were dripping on our plates. Grandma came in and silently took our plates away. When she came back she send us to bed.
Through the thin walls of the bedroom I could hear my sister crying till I fell asleep.