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Sport 40: 2012



Change comes in the shape of a black dwarf rabbit. Its sharp teeth slowly decimate the solid oak furniture in Gran’s kitchen. We’ve never seen Grandpa so smitten; this rabbit can get away with murder. ‘Pepe, you naughty boy!’ Grandpa wags his finger at the black furball, but remains seated with his cigarillo on the kitchen bench next to the radio, from where he can monitor the driveway. An accordion struts through a melancholic tango, while the cigarillo’s ash pillar lengthens page 100 and dies. There is comfort in familiarity. Every item in the house has been kept in the same place since I was a toddler. A special smell infuses all the furnishings. ‘Mould and mothballs,’ Mum snorts. I ignore her and revel in the safety of recognition. There’s Grandpa’s moose antlers that crown the doorways and the wall clock with its heavy lodes that has to be wound up every day. My bum fits snuggly into the curved seat of the red rocking chair. I mimic Grandpa and tip it back until it leans against the wall, pivoting on its oversized rockers. A 1930s version of a La-Z-Boy. Knowing that any moment now Gran will pop her head around the corner and say, ‘Careful that you don’t mark the wall.’ And I’ll assure her I’m old enough now. Next to the rocking chair is the wall cabinet that can’t be moved since it doesn’t have a back; in an unsupervised moment the builder decided to take a shortcut and simply attached it to the wall. But my favourite is the carved table with its slab of pink marble hauled all the way from Spain, so heavy it takes three people to lift it. Black veins snaking through the pink in a set of endless roadmaps, the marble surface smooth and cool even on the hottest summer day.

Gran opens the door to the cold storage where a mosquito-netted window lets the breeze through. ‘Honey is good for you,’ she whispers and retrieves a jar with amber liquid hidden behind a row of 2kg bags of wheat flour bought on special. I notice the words almendra and miel. ‘Nature’s magic remedy. Not like the hard cloudy kind you get here . . .’ She takes off the lid and holds out the jar, makes me feel special. Part of a conspiracy. I look for a spoon. Amber specks glint like fool’s gold in the depth of her green eyes as she dips two fingers into the fluid sunshine and lets honey dribble down her throat.