Intermingled

She prays by the living room table in her colorful, flowered head scarf while the Franks have tea. It’s Tuesday evening and Grandma M is getting bored of America and the mundane routines of her daughter’s family. She notices that Mr. Frank hardly speaks and when he does, she never hears him. When he doesn’t speak, he reads newspapers or falls asleep on the couch. Her youngest granddaughter spends most of her time in a room that is never neat, sitting on her unmade bed with a laptop on her legs. Grandma M wants to take walks outside, but is afraid of approaching strangers who might converse with her in English. Nothing is familiar to her, not Manchester Street, not the Safeway Grocery store or the Greek Church on the other end of Manchester Street.
Earlier in the morning, she practiced the alphabet with her youngest granddaughter, and then when her granddaughter returned to her room, she practiced writing her A’s and B’s some more. When noon came, she went off to make lunch, searching the cabinets for cooking pans and dishes. Cooking, she decided, was the one thing that required no English.
As they drink tea, she confirms that she won’t be staying for long.
“I am too much trouble for you guys,” she says and Mrs. Frank frowns, reassuring her mother that she is wanted here and that she should not think such things.
Perhaps America is too complicated at this moment and the girls aren’t always there to make her happy and listen to her stories. But Grandma M is not ready to go back yet; she is too excited to learn English, to be intermingled with American pleasures.

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