Esther heard Isabella as soon as she opened the back door. Esther looked at the clock above the stove and frowned. The teen should have arrived forty-five minutes before. Isabella’s backpack landed with a thud and the closet door groaned open. Esther shook her head. She would need to get someone to oil the hinges. Maybe John could when he came to pick up Isabella.
“Hey Nana,” Isabella skipped into the room and planted a kiss on Esther’s cheek. “What are you making?”
“My favorite,” Isabella beamed.
“Grab a paring knife from the drawer and you can help.” Esther picked up her own knife and methodically worked the skin off a Northern Spy.
Isabella went to the knife drawer and began looking through the contents. Esther watched her pull out a chartreuse handled monstrosity.
“The short one with the wooden handle would work better for you.”
Isabella shook her head. “I like this one better. I mean just look at the cool color and the fancy blade. That other one is so boring.”
But it won’t hold an edge. Esther didn’t say it, she could see the girl had her mind made up. “I thought you’d be here a while ago. Was the bus running late?”
“I don’t know.” Isabella said, concentrating on slicing and coring a skinned apple. “I rode over with Kathy.”
“Your mom said you’d be taking the bus.”
“Oh, Nana.” Isabella shook her head. “I haven’t been on the bus in months. Kathy is always willing to take me home. It’s really not cool to ride the bus, you know.”
“I see Natalie get on the bus every morning.”
“Exactly.” The girl frowned at the knife trying to force it through the apple’s flesh.
“I thought you two were fast friends.” Esther picked up another apple. Her knife slid easily beneath the skin.
“That was ages ago.” Isabella worked on another section of apple, sawing back and forth to make the blade slice through.
“You’d have better luck with the other knife.” Esther tried again. The pies wouldn’t be very pretty at this rate.
“This one’s fine.” Isabella insisted renewing her effort.
“What happened between you and Natalie?”
“Nothing really. It’s just she’s so dull. All she wants to do is follow the rules and she makes me feel guilty when I want to have some fun.”
“So you found some new exciting friends.”
“Does your mom know that Katie is driving you home?”
“Okay. Does your mom know that Kathy is driving you home?”
“You’re starting to sound like Natalie, Nana. Really, it’s alright. What mom doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”
Esther stopped her cutting and looked at her granddaughter.
“We go right home, just like on the bus.” Esther could hear the defensiveness in her granddaughter’s voice. “Nothing bad is going to happen.”
“You should have permission from your mom and dad. They’d want to know.”
“Nana, stop worrying.” Isabella rolled her eyes and continued sawing through the apple. “Really.”
Silence fell over the kitchen. Esther prayed for guidance. She was feeling too old to deal with a teenager’s volatile emotions. She finished skinning the last of the apples and moved over to help Isabella with the slicing and coring. Esther’s knife sliced through the flesh with almost no effort. She finished three apples while Isabella was still struggling through one. Finally the girl threw down her knife in disgust.
“Why won’t it cut for me?” Isabella huffed.
“Because you’re not using the right tools.”
“But it’s a knife. It should cut through a stupid apple.”
“You would think so, but there are other knives in the drawer that are much better, though maybe not as flashy.”
Isabella looked at the knife on the cutting board. “But it is so pretty.”
“And it hasn’t held an edge since the day that I got it. The one with the wooden handle might be boring to look at, but it is dependable and it will get you through any difficulty that you face. The flashy one’s just going to let you down over and over again.”
“You’re not talking about knives, are you Nana?”
Esther rubbed her granddaughter’s shoulder and smiled. Isabella leaned into her Nana’s embrace. She stepped away and pulled the boring wooden handled knife out of the drawer. The blade slid through the flesh with ease.
Proverbs 27:17 – Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
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