‘Rouse yourselves!’ Edna yelled.
Her three grandchildren were sleeping in her spare room. Edna loved having them over to stay; they kept her young. And ever since Bert died, her home was too quiet. But, right now she was hungry. She’d been up since six-thirty and was tired of waiting for them.
She looked at the clock. 8.17AM.
‘Time to start the day!’ Edna called again. ‘Bess! Charlie! Jade! Breakfast is ready.’ It wasn’t, but she’d boiled the kettle and set the table with plates and cutlery.
Edna listened at the hallway for sounds of children stirring. Nothing. She stormed the five steps to the door of the spare room, rapped her knuckles sharply.
‘I’m coming in.’
She opened the door, carefully. The three of them were splayed across their beds, covers awry, legs hanging over the sides, bare toes peeking. They were delightful, even now in the trifling early teen years. Jade and Bess, the twins, were sharing the double bed, and Charlie, the mattress on the floor. All three mouths were gaping open. Edna chuckled.
‘Children!’ Edna shouted. ‘Time to get up!’
Charlie groaned. Jade rolled over, her arm knocking Bess’ face.
‘Oi Jade, you bitch!’ Bess mumbled, pushing her sister’s arm away.
‘All of you. Up. Now,’ Edna said firmly.
‘Morning Gran,’ said Charlie, rising immediately. He pulled on track pants and walked to the bathroom.
‘Is breakfast ready?’ Bess asked. She was the indulged one. Almost didn’t make it at birth, and Maeve and her husband, Tom, had spoilt her ever since. It was a difficult, stressful time, Edna remembered. Such a tiny baby, putting up the fight of her life. Maeve and Tom hovered in the Special Care Nursery, helpless and hopeful. After three horrifying days, Bess started to respond. Two weeks later Maeve and Tom brought the twins home, where two-year-old Charlie had been impatiently waiting, cared for by Edna and Bert.
‘Come on out and help me with the last of it,’ Edna offered.
Bess threw back the covers and followed Edna into the kitchen.
‘Put the jams and Vegemite on the table, please Bess. You might have to root through the cupboard to find the honey.’
‘OK, Gran,’ said Bess, fishing in the pantry. ‘Is there cereal?’
‘Yes, I think so.’
Charlie and Jade walked into the dining area. Jade sat heavily in her seat. Charlie kissed Edna on the cheek, and took the toast rack from her hands to the table. Edna lowered herself slowly into her chair and smiled at her grandchildren.
They really were a delight.