The greens came to a vicious boil on the stove. They tidied up the kitchen, making it presentable for family and friends. But the air within those four walls, smelled different. Sapphire bent down to reach for Grandma Jane’s slippers and the two of them headed outside to check on the meat slowly cooking on the grill.
Sapphire followed Grandma Jane down the cobblestone path that led to the opened-clear area of her backyard; here is where Uncle Lu was grilling the meat.
“Lu, move on over and lemme check this heh’ meat. You’ve been out here long enough for them wings to be nice & juicy. Where’s my barbecue sauce?”
Lu moved out of the way, clearing space for his mother as she wobbled to the place he called his throne. It was her backyard, so she ruled all.
“All right, Mama. You don’t have to get all antsy. The sauce is in the fridge. Sapph, go on in that house and get the barbecue sauce for your GJ.”
“No, sah. I specifically asked you to step aside and get that sauce. Sapph is going to stay out here with me and learn a little something.”
Lu wanted to say something crass to his Mom, but he thought twice, sealed his lips, and casually walked toward the house to retrieve the sauce.
“Sapph, pay attention, baby. This is how you turn the meat on the grill. You gotta make sure each side is cooked to perfection, just enough juice remaining to make folks’ mouths water. See? This heh’ is just right. Lu is going to bring that sauce and we’ll be in business, baby girl.”
“How long do you cook the chicken, GJ? Uncle Lu must’ve been out here for at least two hours. Does it always take that long?”
“Well baby, it depends. Your Uncle gotta heap-load ‘a meat on this heh’ grill. Ain’t no telling how many times he’s turned every piece over and he knows I don’t like nobody messin’ around too much with the meat. Marinate it, let it cook, turn it a few times, sauce it up, and make sure the juices remain, then take it off the grill. Not your Uncle Lu, he’s gotta be extra. That boy gets my nerves so worked up, Sapph.”
As Grandma Jane said this, a feeling of tiredness overcame her. Her body lost its stability. The world around her began to spin. Her chest heaved. Her hands began sweating. A twitch in her left eye reminded her of the greens cooking on the stove. Sapphire stood there trying to figure out what was about to take place and before she could react, Grandma Jane fell atop the grill, then onto the ground.
“GJ!!! What are you doing?!?! Uncle Lu!!! Aunt Thomasina!!! Somebody get out here! Somebody call the ambulance. GJ!!! Why? What are you doing?!?!
Grandma Jane faintly heard these words coming from her first grandchild and as she laid there, hands dirty, apron covered with charcoal residue, body without much life, she whispered, “It’s not my time.” But, Sapphire did not hear her.