I love being in my grandparents’ house. Their home feels like a page out of a happy children’s book. From old cookie jars, to a playful dog, a lot of pampering and the smell of slowly cooked meals, it feels like a haven even for the grown-up grandchildren like me. I visit my grandparents often and yesterday was no different. I reached their home early afternoon.
My grandparents are a social couple and as usual they had their friends over for dinner yesterday. The afternoon in their house was a bright one. The house vibrated with the energy of anticipated guests, while the aroma from a pot of slowly cooking food assured preparation.
I sat on the kitchen table reading. In between pages I glanced out at the garden outside the kitchen window. My grandparents were out there taking a stroll hand-in-hand. They laughed as they talked. My grandfather often reached out in between conversation to tuck a loose strand of my grandmother’s hair behind her ear. When they finished talking I saw that my grandfather planted a kiss on my grandma’s forehead. My grandmother stroked his back and both went their ways. My grandfather resumed his gardening while grandma came into the kitchen. This after 40 years of marriage, four children and many grandchildren later is my grandparents’ love story.
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Fresh as ever
Seeing me inside she planted the most motherly kiss on my cheeks. Unable to control my curiosity I asked,
“What is it that keeps you and grandpa behaving like newly-weds? Nowadays, people do not last a year like this. Either they get bored, fall out of love or simply move on.”
“Newly-weds!” my grandmother exclaimed and laughed. Hers was full-throated laughter that sounded like a tinkling of sweet bells. I loved this laughter.
“Well, it is the little things in a relationship that keeps us like ‘newlyweds’.”
“What little things?” I asked.
“Love is a vibrating and living emotion. It lives in stolen kisses, a warm hug, in the cup of tea that your grandpa makes for me every day in the afternoon or in the push that I give to him when he is resists jumping into the swimming pool on lazy weekends.” She winked at the last sentence and we both laughed.
“Love needs nourishment. Otherwise it fades. You nourish love when you express love. Nourishment may be in the simple gesture of pulling out a chair, in giving away the larger piece of chocolate to your love (I call that sacrifice!) or watching a movie together. Why people fall out of love, get bored or move on is because they either forget to keep these things alive or place value on things like the size of a gifted diamond. I am lucky your grandpa is poor enough. Never saw a diamond in my life. But I have watched movies, gone on long walks in twilight and stole food from his plate when he was not looking!”, she chuckled.
It’s the small things
As we talked, my grandfather walked in, followed by the golden retriever he claimed he loved more than my grandmother. I never noticed before but I saw that he immediately set the tea to boil while my grandma got ready to go to her evening yoga classes.
We sat down for tea. Every time grandpa bent to give a cookie to the pet my grandma stole a cookie from his plate.
“This is how you prepare yourself for your yoga classes,” my grandfather feigned disappointment.
The dinner that night was a huge success; with good food and the company of people that gave me a happy high. After dinner they drove me home. We said goodnight and bade adieu. As I turned to lock my gate I saw my grandparents making their way back towards the car. They walked hand-in-hand, my grandmother rested her head on grandpa’s shoulder. Their pet dog kept fighting with grandma for his share of attention. The moonlight bathed them in a soft light. I could not help but smile looking at them.
Looking at them I realised that love is in moonlit walks, in the head that rests on the shoulder, in the intangible.