I’m seven years old and I am visiting with Mum-Mum for a week on Summer vacation. Mum-Mum is my mother’s mother. I call her Mum-Mum because as a baby I couldn't say Grandma. I have been looking forward to seeing Mum-Mum for weeks! I can’t wait to explore her attic and see all the old stuff she has up there. Mum Mum says it’s garbage, but I love it. She says I can’t explore the attic until I have made my bed. I don’t have to make my bed at home, but I want to be a good guest like Mom tells me to, so I make the bed. I didn’t make it right, I didn’t fold the corners of the sheets and fluff the pillows up. Now I am not allowed in the attic. I’ll have to try harder tomorrow! Yesterday we were supposed to go to the circus, but she wanted to take a nap instead. I understand, she’s old, and old people are tired. For dinner we are eating stuffed bell peppers. The green peppers turn out crunchy and squishy, and the ground beef turns out crunchy and squishy. I can’t finish my peppers so I go to bed hungry. It’s ok though, because today Mum-Mum is taking me out for ice cream. She’s never taken me for ice cream before!
We are driving through the backwoods of Altoona, Pennsylvania in her gold minivan that smells like moth balls and cough drops. There is no air conditioner in her gold minivan and I am sweating from the June humidity. We get to the ice cream store and I ask for vanilla cookie dough served in a cup. ”No, you’re not getting that flavor. I don’t like cookie dough.” Mum-Mum orders me chocolate peanut butter cup because that is what she is ordering for herself. I am handed a waffle cone of two large scoops of chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream and Mum-Mum pulls me by my arm to sit outside at a picnic table in the sun. I look inside at the happy kids eating vanilla cookie dough ice cream and enjoying the air conditioning. “Mum-Mum, can we go back inside? It’s hot out here.” She takes a lick of her ice cream cone. “No.”
I start eating my ice cream but it melts because it’s too hot and the scoops are too big. I eat faster and faster and still the chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream drips out of the waffle cone and onto my new yellow shorts where it leaves brown stains on the thighs. The chocolate peanut buttercup ice cream melts down my hands, and down my arms into the pits of my elbows. “Mum-Mum there’s ice cream in my hands and it’s on my arms and I can’t eat it fast enough.” She continues to eat her cone of chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream and ignores me sitting next to her, crying. “Goddammit, Emily. I can’t even enjoy my Goddamn ice cream while you’re here. Christ!” She reaches over, snatches the chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream cone from my hand, and slams it onto the faded wood picnic table.
Mum-Mum yanks me from the picnic table, cutting my legs on cracked wood as I stand up, and shoves me back into the hot, gold minivan with no air conditioning. “I’m sorry, Mum-Mum!” I sit in the hot, gold minivan in silence as we drive 45 minutes back to her house covered in chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream. Despite the heat, Mum-Mum’s gold minivan is frigid. This is the moment I learn my Grandmother is a miserable bitch.
About the author...
Emily Nikfar is an actor, storyteller, and writer. Emily has been exploring the world of Solo Performance in the past two years and has learned how to use art as a form of therapy.
Want to read more of Emily's work?
Check out her piece, Pink Grapefruit, from our Messy issue!