“H-O-N-E-Y,” Grandpa spells out, small tiles chinking as he spaces them across the Scrabble board. Licking the tip of the pencil, he scribbles his score on the score pad.
He could be writing anything, as far as I know. I never check what he writes down or adds up. That’s not the point of our weekly Scrabble match.
And every match we play, Grandpa makes HONEY somewhere on the board.
“How is Honey?” I ask.
I slip a ‘T’ and a ‘G’ either side of the ‘O’ in ‘HONEY’ to form ‘TOG’.
“What’s TOG?” Grandpa asks.
“You know, tog,” I say, “as in, TOGether.”
He drops the pencil. It rolls across the board and clinks the ‘H’ in ‘HONEY’.
“Five years we’ve been playing Scrabble every Wednesday,” he says, “and you still can’t work out what’s a word and what’s only a prefix.”
He still thinks I give a fuck about Scrabble!
“Honey’s wonderful, thank you for asking. Just as beautiful and as warm as the day we met.” Grandpa nods, picking up the pencil. “Best thing I ever did, walk into the Firenze Club five and a half years ago.” Grandpa chuckles. “Swap the ‘G’ and the ‘T’ and I’ll give you got.”
Grandpa chocks the pencil between his front teeth while his index fingers slide the ‘G’ into the T’s spot and the ‘T’ into the G’s spot.
“She’s not your grandmother,” Grandpa says, extracting the pencil from his teeth and looking up at me from under bushy eyebrows. “But Honey’s an amazing woman in her own right.”
I nod. God, we always get to this point in the game.
Honey Borgia. Sandy-tressed widow of Frank Borgia, founder of Borgia’s Hardware and Building Supplies, and single biggest financial contributor to the Firenze Club.
Honey Borgia. Full-busted knockout who, six months after Grandma died in a fishing accident, swept Grandpa off his feet and turned his life around.
Honey Borgia. Prize cook everyone else in the family hates. And it’s my task as the favourite granddaughter, every week, to convince him to dump the bitch.
On a Wednesday.
Over a game of Scrabble.
“Q-U-I-Z-I-C-A-L,” Grandpa spells out. The tiles spink across the board, covering a Triple Word Score and a Double Letter Score and he’s counting his points and licking the pencil tip and scribbling on the score pad and yeah, he’s won again. No way can I top QUIZICAL.
“Is there only one ‘Z’ in quizzical?” I ask.
“There is in American spelling,” Grandpa says. “That’s how Honey and I play usually, American spelling.”
Grandpa underlines his score and stabs the pad with the pencil.
“Next week again?” he asks.
“Sure,” I say. “Next week.”
published 13 June 2015