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Thursday, November 08, 2007

The ONE time I decide to iron. Figures.

For whatever reason last night I was dead set on being productive when I got home from work.

I made dinner, sauteed some tilapia with vegetables and brown rice, cleaned up the kitchen, put away my laundry, and then attempted to wrench the ironing board out of hall closet and struggle for fifteen minutes getting it to stand upright.

Once upright, I filled the iron with water, only to realize that our iron is not a steam iron and I'm actually not sure where I just poured that water. *Cut to me wincing and covering my eyes as I stick the plug in the wall socket*

Narrowly escaping electrocution, I grabbed the first pair of pants in a pile of many and started ironing away. Then something happened.

My eyes started to well and I began ironing slower and slower, until finally I stopped altogether.

A clear memory hit me with such force that it pulled all the air from my lungs.

It was the eighties. I was six. My parents had flown to London and left my grandma to take care of us for the week.

Every night, regardless of whether we wanted her to or not, she would iron our clothes for the next day. Setting up the board in the hallway in front of our kitchen, she would stand for an hour, shoulders slumped, vigorously ironing one piece of clothing after another.

She had this distinct way of ironing because the arthritis in her right hand was so terrible. She would use her left hand to prop the elbow of her right arm and with one fluid motion, would sweep the iron across the board. She would never set the iron upright; leaving it face down on the board for the few seconds it took her to adjust a sleeve, a hem, a button. I would watch intently, waiting for her to burn a hole straight through the ironing board.

She never did.

The lucidity of that memory was more real to me at that moment than even the hands of the clock turning on the wall of my apartment behind me.

I stood there silently, motionless for at least a whole minute until I picked up the iron and began pulling it around the ironing board slowly again. Tears fell onto the wrinkled cuff of the pant leg in front of me.

I hope I always remember you this way, Grandma.

3 comments:

S said...

What a sweet memory!

My grandmother lived with us when I was a child. She died when I was 17, and I still think of her almost every day. ;)

dmbmeg said...

thanks for this.

click said...

*sniff*