John watched his grandmother baking the traditional Christmas Vanilla-Spice cookies. Normally it was his grandma and his mother but Mom wasn't here right now. He wasn't sure why, she must have a darn good reason though. As a boy he'd try to dip a finger when Grandma wasn't looking. Inevitably his older sister would tattle costing him a rap on the knuckles with the wooden spatula. It was worth it though, every time.
“Johnny come stir this,” his Grandmother called. “Don't think just because you can drive now means you're too old to help your Grandma.” He smiled obligingly.
As he began stirring pain shot through his arm like lightning. He jerked his arm back and looked quizzically at the bowl of cookie dough. Weird, he thought slightly alarmed. He began stirring again only to be met with the same searing pain shooting through his right arm.
“Gram,” he called with a mild elevation to his voice. She seemed to be unaware of him busying herself with cooling the first batch.
Suddenly he felt displaced. Panic pulsed through his body with every beat of his racing heart as he assessed the pain spreading throughout the rest of his body.
“Take these to your mother honey,” she told him not seeming to notice he was doubled over with pain. Looking squarely at him she said, “Now you tell her you love her when you see her.” She took a deep breath as she cupped her palm onto his cheek. “I love you Johnny. Now go, you have things to do.” With that she turned and tended to her baking as if nothing at all were wrong.
Judy sat in the chair, tissue in hand with a blank look on her tear-stained face. She startled when Dan put his hand on her shoulder.
“Honey, why don't you try to sleep for awhile. Just at least put your feet up and rest some,” Dan encouraged.
She shifted in the chair taking a deep breath, “I can't honey. I'm just...” She looked up as she heard the door opening. Her body softened at the sight of her daughter. “Libby, oh honey.”
Libby came though the door wearing a larger than normal jacket. “Hey Mom, hey Dad,” she said hugging each of them. They both shot her a look of confusion at the jacket.
She looked around. “Look. I know this sounds...silly, but I had to do something. So, I made Vanilla-Spice cookies, just like you and Grandma used to make every year until...until she died.” She lowered her eyes momentarily as she opened her jacket and pulled out several small foil pouches. “I just thought that maybe it would be nice to have Grandma here with us and this was what I came up with.” She opened one of the foil pouches and the aroma filled the room. She glanced at her mom who was welling up with tears. She nodded, “How's he doing anyway?”
Judy looked over at her son lying in the hospital bed, “He's bad. Broken ribs, broken arm, lots of bruising.” Her lips quivered, “Head trauma. They are worried that he hasn't woken up yet. I shouldn't have let him go, it was dark, he's not experienced.” She wept into her husband's chest.
Dan held her close, angry at the helplessness he felt. “Of course the other guy is fine, a few scrapes and bruises, but he's being released this morning. I wonder why God allows drunk drivers to get off so easily. They never seem to get hurt yet they take lives all the time.” He clenched his jaw trying to ward off the tears.
Libby gasped suddenly, “Oh my gosh...Johnny? Johnny? Mom, he's waking up!”
They all rushed to his side, “Johnny?” his mom called pressing the nurse's button. “Oh honey, are you with us?”
“John, wake up son,” his dad said softly.
Johnny's eyes fluttered and opened to slits, “Mom?”
His mom smiled as tears ran down her cheeks, “Yes honey, we're here. We thought we lost you!”
“Grandma said to tell you,” he struggled through the exhaustion and pain, “I love you when I brought you the cookies.”
“Cookies? Grandma? John...Grandma?”
“Yeah, she was baking, smelled wonderful,” he said weakly.
Judy and Dan looked at each other then to Libby who's jaw hung unhinged. “Libby, honey. I think you saved your brother's life!”
Libby's eyes welled up with tears. “Thanks Grandma!” she whispered holding the foil pouch.
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