3 min

A good boy

Grandma's friend-ly surprise

Credit: Xtra West files

Dear Diary; Jamie and self waited this evening in mile-long line for the Stanley Park Christmas train. Little children wearing Santa toques and finding out their parents were right-they don’t like roasted chestnuts. Lovers making sure everyone knows they are lovers by cuddling over mulled cider and rubbing each others mittened hands for warmth. Why not just wear big “We’re Fucking” signs?

Grandma Bud showed up in mini-flurry, from between a pair of trees. She was looking everywhere for us, dramatic and cold like the little match girl.

Behind her was Alice. Hobbling more now. Alice was wearing wooly black pants and had a cane. Think the cane is more for effect, though.

Grandma Bud didn’t say she was going to bring Alice.

They found us like you find a twenty in the chesterfield cushions.

“Hello-ohh!” Grandma Bud came up to me with arms wide. Smelt like hot-cross buns and dog hair. Her arms like a second sweater around me.

Then, like a tacking sailboat, she swooped her attention down on Jamie.

“Good Evening!” (v. Edwardian like). “My name is Bud.” She took Jamie’s hand and held it (no shaking). “Bud as in Rosebud.”

All the time, Alice stood behind like a four-year-old, eyeing Jamie suspiciously.

Grandma went “oh,” like Alice had grabbed her bum, and stepped aside to introduce (she loves to introduce): “This is my friend, Alice!”

Could tell Grandma Bud was making furious inventory of what Jamie was wearing. Had warned him that Eddie Bauer would give best impression since Grandma Bud believes that no-one bad shops at Eddie Bauer. Oatmeal sweaters and formless trousers make her feel safe in otherwise crazy world.

She nodded into her scarf like he was clearly a good boy, and what good taste her grandson has, and no wonder, too, thanks to the visits to classical concerts, the outings to galleries, and intense forbearance of Ikea furniture, all provided by who? By Grandma Bud, that’s who. Yes, she had certainly done a good job. Everything was working out well. What a good boy she had for a grandson. Everything was lovely. Lovely and Christmasey.

Everyone else had steamy breath that looked like cigarette smoke; but Jamie was breathing marshmallows.

Jamie smiled at Grandma. Smiles talk sometimes; this one said: ‘Even if your grandson and I get married, I promise I will never bugger him. We will lie in bed wearing flannel pajamas and just hold each other.’ He leaned toward the pair of ladies. “Would you two like some coffee? It’s pretty cold out here.”

Grandma Bud went, “Oh! Oh, yes!” looking back at me and bringing her shoulders up. “That would be lovely.”

Smiled at him as he jogged away-was brilliant move and sound investment. For $1.50 and an ounce of thoughtfulness, Jamie had just bought my Grandma’s love.

One beat and her eyes welled up-why does she cry at things like that? She cries during life insurance commercials too.

She took Alice’s arm in hers like they were in a Jane Austen book and leaned toward me, all grave-“A good boy.” Her throat rattles in the cold. “A nice boy.” Nodded my head. Then, I don’t know why, I got a bit teary too. Misty eyes are catching as a yawn.

By the time the coffee was done we were on the train.

Alice nodded at the family in front of us (man, wife, two children) and sighed. “They look so content.”

Grandma Bud smiled all benevolent and she was patting Jamie on the knee. Said: “I always find it’s the boring people who look content.”

We were like giants on the miniature train, Jamie and I in one car, Grandma and Alice in the one in front. The happy pull of the train along toy tracks. We shuttled under dark branches; everywhere the trees were spangled with pricks of light.

Jamie pulled my hand into his lap as the children yelled at robot reindeer. Shoulder on shoulder, hand in hand, bums vibrating to the rattle of the track. Everything sweet and wooly.

His cock gave a little hello nod in his pants, pressing up to my hand, warm. Brought my fingers around it like you bring your hand around a mug of hot chocolate.

Santa’s workshop, glowing presents, a myriad of scenes-they floated by like a delirious fairy orgy.

Jamie’s mitten on the back of my neck. His lips moving in my ear: “Merry Christmas, honey.”

I am a honey.

Wanted to stop the train and lay down in the middle of the reindeer games. I am a honey. I did it.

It was only as the train pulled into the make-shift platform, and children were hallooing, scampering off their seats, that I noticed Alice had been resting her head, all along, on Grandma Bud’s immaculate shoulder.