66 CH66: Day out with Grandma

    "The most indispensable ingredient of all good home cooking:

    Love for those who you are cooking for!'"

    - Sophia Loren


    It was finally Delilah's day off. She had taken a day off on a Friday so she has a long weekend to relax and enjoy before Monday arrives. The reason why she had taken Friday off was because she wanted to bring her grandmother out for shopping. Apparently, weeks ago, her grandmother had been complaining that she wanted to go grocery shopping but her children and grandchildren were too busy to accompany her.

    To their credit, it was true that they were too busy because they either had work or school and by the time they got home, some would need to prepare for dinner and whatnot. It was a tiring everyday routine for them.

    Her grandmother was actually her father's mother. Delilah's grandparents from her mother's side have passed away before she was born and when she was a baby. And her grandfather from her father's side passed away a couple of years ago. She could still remember buying him an orange drink from the supermarket. That SPECIFIC orange drink because he loved that brand and only that brand. He passed away just after she had graduated from university. And she lovingly recalled the time she would rush out after class to visit him in the hospital because he would ask for his orange juice.

    Hence why she could understand why her grandmother was complaining. Delilah assumed that she must be lonely. There were times that her aunts, who were her father's sisters, would visit her grandmother who lived alone (she did not want any caretaker to accompany her at home). But again, Delilah presumed that wasn't enough and that she wanted to go out of the house.

    So, one day, Delilah was working on her report and her phone rang. She picked up her phone and was surprised to see her grandmother was calling her. She answered the call and said hello.

    Apparently, her grandmother was looking for Delilah's father. And because her father did not answer her call, she tried to call Miya, who also did not pick up the call. In the end, she called Delilah. She said that she wanted to buy some stuff which she ran out of. She thought that maybe Delilah's father might be able to take a day off to accompany her.

    Delilah, who knew that her father was busy with meetings, knew that her father might not be able to accompany her grandmother. Delilah's father worked in the automobile industry and because the festive season was about to come, his company was busy with car deals and promotions.

    She listened to her grandmother's talking and complaining and in the end, Delilah thought, 'Why not just accompany her since I still got a lot of days off?'.

    After more talking from her grandmother and more listening from her, the two said their goodbyes. Delilah immediately left a text message to her father about her grandmother. A few minutes later, a text message came in and she was right. Her father would still be busy that week and the following week.

    Thinking that she should give it a try, Delilah replied her father back with a message asking whether it was okay if she went to accompany her grandmother instead. Her father answered yes, that would be even better.

    Delilah rolled her eyes playfully while chuckling as she read her father's reply. She could sense that he was a bit relieved that she was offering herself to accompany her grandmother.

    She immediately applied for leave on Friday that day. Although it was crucial for every employee to ask for leave two weeks before, Delilah wanted to give it a try whether she can apply for the next week.

    Fortunately for her, since her applied for leave form has to go through Aubree first, the latter immediately gave her approval. She even told Delilah to just go ahead.

    So, a few hours later, once Delilah had arrived at home, she immediately made a call to her grandmother, telling her that she would accompany her to go grocery shopping. A wry smile formed on her lips as she listened to her grandmother's happy voice.

    However, she inwardly groaned when her grandmother said that she will be ready at 7:30am in the morning. Her office hours even start at 8:00am, but her grandmother wanted her to be there at 7:30am. Meaning that she has to wake up even early. So much for a holiday.

    When that day arrived, Delilah woke up a bit late so she didn't have any time for a quick breakfast. She only took a shower and went straight to her grandmother's place. Her grandmother's place was nearly an hour drive from her house. And because it was Friday, the traffic was a breeze so it was a smooth drive (School days in the country are from Monday to Thursday and Saturday. Friday is for international schools).

    Before she left her house, she did manage to call her grandmother so that she would be a bit late. Delilah was worried that she might be waiting for so long. Her grandmother doesn't know how to use a text messaging app so she can only call her. Even if she has her own mobile phone.

    Shortly after, she finally arrived at her grandmother's place. Her house was a humble two-storey house with a small porch in front. There were many plants on the porch. Her grandmother loved to plant flowers and cactus. Beside the house, there was a small garage, which connects to the house, where the entrance was the back door of the kitchen. Delilah swiftly parked her car in the garage and went down to go straight to the house.

    Inside, her grandmother was all dressed-up in her pretty clothes, her small handbag beside her on the sofa. Apparently, while she was waiting for Delilah, she decided to watch TV for awhile. She raised her head when she heard Delilah called out to her.

    She stood up, grabbed her handbag and switched off the television. She smiled as she watched Delilah approach her. The latter took her grandmother's hand for blessing and then proceeded to guide her outside to the car.

    Delilah diligently helped her grandmother climb into the car and went to the driver's side. Once inside, she switched on the engine and drove them out of the garage. While driving, Delilah asked her grandmother what her plan was.

    She smiled as she listened to her grandmother's list of places to go. First off the list, she wanted to go to the restaurant where she always used to go with Delilah's grandfather. Luckily, the restaurant was still operating so they went there first.

    The restaurant that her grandmother wanted to go to was a Northern Indian restaurant where she used to eat biryani rice with Delilah's grandfather. Which she ordered again that day. Delilah let out a sad smile as she sat across her grandmother, watching her looking out the window with a whimsical look on her face. It seems that her grandmother was still missing her husband after all these years.

    Delilah also ordered biryani rice with beef rendang. So, the two ate their food in silence. Though, Delilah did start a conversation at some point, asking about what her grandmother has been doing. The latter then talked about how Delilah's aunts and uncles had visited her the other day and whatnot.

    After they were done eating, they decided to walk around the nearby shops. Since the food that they ate was too heavy for breakfast, they wanted to walk it off. They didn't enter the shops but rather just window-shopping.

    Once they were done, they finally went for grocery shopping. Since the grocery store was not in the area, they had to use the car to go there. It took them a few minutes to arrive, added with the time of looking for a parking spot. Delilah had to look for one that was near to the store entrance because she doesn't want her grandmother to get tired from walking too much.

    After she finally found a parking spot, she quickly parked her car and went to help her grandmother get down from the car.

    Inside the grocery store, it was a bit crowded with people. There were parents who brought their children with them, there were also young men and women who looked like they were shopping for themselves. Although the store wasn't that big, it seems like it was a popular place to do grocery shopping.

    The grocery store has a high cream coloured ceiling with LED lighting. The walls were painted in soft green, to emphasize the freshness of the products that the store were offering. Most of the products offered were organized in sections, which made it easier for patrons to look for things that they were looking for. And even though there were many varieties of choices to choose from, it wasn't as big as a supermarket.

    Delilah purposely chose this grocery store because she did not want her grandmother to walk too far. She just hoped that the store had everything that her grandmother was looking for.

    After nearly an hour of picking the items and placing them into the shopping cart, Delilah thought it was fortunate that they had everything. She did not have to go to another grocery store to look for the things that they missed out.

    Once they were done with the grocery shopping, her grandmother told Delilah that she wanted to go to a beauty and cosmetics store. She wanted to buy some lotion and face cream. And so, the two women went off to the store.

    By the time they were done, it was already past 12 o'clock in the afternoon. Not wanting her grandmother to get tired, Delilah suggested that they go for a light lunch. At least, her grandmother would be able to rest her legs. Delilah too.

    Delilah chose a small restaurant that served shawarma and other Arabic foods. At first, her grandmother ordered a small portion of grilled chicken with fries. But when she saw Delilah ordering pita breads with hummus and grilled chicken, she frowned and asked what was that.

    Delilah explained that hummus is actually mashed chickpeas that can be used as a spread for her pita bread. Noticing that her grandmother was becoming more intrigued, she offered her a piece, spreading the hummus on the pita bread for her.

    After her grandmother took a bite, she hid her small smile, seeing the happy glint in the former's eyes. It looks like she had her grandmother hooked on the dish. Her grandmother has always been a picky eater but a loyal one. Once she was hooked on a favourite dish at a certain restaurant, she would only buy from that restaurant.

    Delilah began to eat hers. Her hummus was creamy, filled with rich umami and garlicky flavour. There was a bit of a tangy flavour in it too since she had squeezed a slice of lemon over it. She then took a small piece of pita bread and spread some hummus on it. She took a bite and chewed on it. The hummus tasted heavenly as it melts in her mouth and the bread was a bit dense, hence, a bit chewy. But it was good as it felt airy and light in her mouth.

    She then took another piece of the pita bread and other than hummus, she also added pieces of the grilled chicken on the bread. She continued to add more chicken and then rolled them. She stuffed the whole thing in her mouth and thought that it was so good.

    The chicken was grilled to perfection. There were still some juices after she ate them, making them more succulent and savory. Added with the creamy hummus and the airy pita bread, it tasted divine that she licked the plate clean of the hummus.

    After they were done with lunch, they went to another store which was the jewelry store. She said that she brought her old jewelry and wanted to have them clean. Delilah just nodded as she drove as per her grandmother's direction. She doesn't have any plans anyway, other than to accompany her grandmother.

    Once that was done as well, Delilah could see that her grandmother was getting tired. So she suggested that why not go back home. Her grandmother agreed.

    It was nearly 5 o'clock in the afternoon, by the time that they reached home.

    After Delilah helped by carrying all of her grandmother's purchases to the kitchen and the latter's room, she noticed that her grandmother had gone to the bathroom herself to take a shower.

    She continued helping by unpacking the items from the shopping bags and rearrange them in her grandmother's pantry.

    By the time her grandmother was done with her shower, Delilah was in the kitchen, cooking a light dinner for her. She knew her grandmother has always been a fan of her 'roti john' so she thought that she would try and make her one.

    When her grandmother saw her cooking, she protested that she was already full. But then she quieted down when she saw that Delilah had cooked one of her favourite dishes.

    Once Delilah was done cooking, she placed the dish in front of her grandmother, who was sitting at the dining table. She watched her grandmother take a piece and another piece with an amused look on her face.

    She didn't finish them all, though. She told Delilah that she would leave some for tomorrow. She will put them in the fridge.

    Delilah nodded and then after a few more minutes of talking and checking to make sure that her grandmother was feeling comfortable and whatnot, Delilah took her leave.

    She gave her grandmother a hug and told her to give her a call if she needs anything else.

    Her grandmother nodded and waved her goodbye.

    Sometimes even a simple home cooked meal is good enough for your loved ones.
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