Grandpa’s Basket

“Can you guess what bear that is?” It was a drawing. The bear with the red shirt and the honey.
“Barely,” I said. I wanted to play the game.
She narrowed her eyes at me and smiled. Then she looked at my arms. “Why show your bare skin?”
It was a hot day. “I can’t bare the heat.”
“I’m bearing a tray of cookies, fresh from the oven.” They were smoking.
“Let me take them off! And lay them bare on the surface.” I jumped up quickly to win but she swung the tray in the other direction.
“No! It’s unbearable to touch.”
“You’re cheating!” I said. I tried to swipe for the cookies. “You can’t cheat.”
“The tray is hot. Don’t touch it.”
“You didn’t say bear.” I said. “I win.”
“But you didn’t say it first.”
“…Oh.” She was right. Crafty old mum. “OK fine that’s three to you and five to me.”
She smiled. We sat down and waited for Grandpa. He’s be home soon.
“You know,” Mum said “I never won against Grandpa. He always won.” We chewed on cookies.
“But I always beat Grandpa.” Grandpa was easy to beat. And he was always happy to play.
“Maybe let him win one?” She suggested. “He’s been off his game since your gran decided to go on that trip. It might be nice to get him back on track.”
Grandpa walked in, a basket in hand. Back from the park by the stream. He used to picnic there with Grandma before she moved away. I ran up and squeezed his chest and smelt in that musty grey cardigan he always wore.
“Hey Papa Bear,” said Mum, smiling from the couch.
“The bear game is over.” I shook my head.
Me and Grandpa sat on the couch together.
“Kids can be so harsh,” I heard Mum say to Grandpa.
“Hard, but fair, right boy?” He scruffled my hair.
Inside Grandpa’s basket I could see lots of things covered in shadow. But also some chocolate. I waited.
“Nice picnic today, Granddad?” said Mum.
“Always is,” he said. “But not as nice as this.” He gave me some Terry’s Chocolate Orange. The best chocolate in the whole world. “Look what fell from my Chocolate Tree,” he said.
“You know,” mum said. “I can go with you.” She shuffled in her chair. “To the park. If you’d like.”
He scruffled my hair again. He’d always scruffle my hair. Sometimes he’s just keep it there, scruffling away and not even thinking about it. “No no,” Grandpa said. “No need.”
“I can go with you for a picnic,” I said, peeling the lairs of my orange.
“I’d like that,” he said back.
Mum rolled her eyes.
I rolled mine too. I could get them to look all the way round from the right to up to left to down to right in one motion.
“Honey do you mind taking Granddad’s basket into the kitchen for him?” She looked hard at Grandpa. I didn’t like that look.
“No no,” Grandpa said, clutching the handle of his basket. “You can stay.”
“Honey. Go now and put the kettle on.”
I took Grandpa’s basket to the kitchen. I was happy to get out the room. They were quiet until I left the room, but then they started arguing loudly as if the walls were soundproof.
“Lalala lalala lalalala,” I sang over them as I flicked the kettle on.
I turned around and knocked Grandpa’s picnic basket. It made a big CRASH as all the plates and food and cups and some lipstick and a pink wallet rattled onto the floor.
My eyes fixed on the pink wallet.
Grandpa hurried in. I opened up the wallet and looked at the driver’s license.
It was an old woman. Grandpa ripped the wallet from my hands but I already saw.
“That’s not my gran.”