“I’m bored,” Anisa whined to her grandmother, whose arms were elbow deep in soapy water.
“Bored?” The old woman scoffed. “How could anyone with a brain like yours ever be bored? Go outside! Use your imagination!”
But before Anisa could follow through on that suggestion the sky darkened and thunder began to grumble at them.
Grandma finished washing the last dish, and rinsed and dried her hands. “Bad timing,” she told Anisa with a hint of a rueful apology in her tone. “I have an idea.”
The old woman sliced an orange into thin circles and retrieved an empty paper towel roll from the recycling bin.
Anisa was confused. She liked oranges, but she’d only ever seen them cut in circles when they were to be floated in punch bowls. “Grandma? What’s your idea?”
“You’ll see. Get the honey and come to the table.”
Anisa did as she was asked.
Taking her seat, she watched as grandma did the same. She kept watching as the old woman used the squeeze-bottle of honey to draw a line around the inside of one of the orange slices, along the white pith beneath the rind. Then she pushed the cardboard tube from the paper towels into the honey.
“I don’t get it,” Anisa said.
“Here.” Grandma handed her the orange and cardboard contraption. “Look through the open end.”
Anisa peered through the cardboard tube expecting to see just the flesh of the orange, but her grandmother stroked her hair and reminded her, “Use your imagination!”
And so she did!
“I see a fireball turning cartwheels across the sky,” she announced. “I see the sun rising on a field of clover. The bees are so happy! I see butterfly wings, and the round part of the big window at church.”
Anisa paused. A lifetime of being taught to share her toys was prickling her conscience. “Grandma,” she asked. “Would you like to look.”
“Thank you,” the old woman said. “I’d love to.” The little girl handed over the make-shift toy and the old woman turned the tube this way and that, as if she were changing the focus. “Hmm,” she said. “Just as I thought!”
“What? What do you see?”
“I see joy and creativity and a little girl who isn’t bored anymore.”
Anisa giggled. Grandma had a point. “Now what?” she asked.
“Now? Now, we eat the rest of these orange slices, and we figure out what story the thunder is trying to tell.”
And they did.