Secrets of the Magic Fingers

August 19, 2008
By Taylor Janulewicz, Chandler, AZ

The baby does not keep its brain. We keep finding it on the floor by the baby’s crib. So many times we found the baby brain on the floor looking like a little pink prune all dried up. We always asked grand grand to put back in for us, which is a very disgusting process. My grandmother would bend over from her were stand, her round finger that are rough from work and age, she would scoop the tiny dried up brain and walk towards the kitchen.

My grandmother is well into her eighty’s and worked all her life in a silk making factory in downtown Sakya. Every day she would clean, color and weave silk making 6 yens a day. Her once long beautiful silky black hair is now a smoky gray where she always have it a bun. Her body once slim and beautiful is now round and plump from haveing five children, my mother one of them. She was married to my grandfather by an arranged marriage at the age of 15 and had my mother at the age of 18.

“Sue, bring the shortening from the cabinet above the sink.” called my grandmother, who put the brain a wooden bowl full of water. My younger sister grabbed the chair from the table and dragged it over to the cabinet; the chair making a soft padding noise on the tile ground. When the cabinet opened it made a long eerie creaking sound like th old doors make at the church. On the high shelf stood the big tube of shortening, the label had water stains so the label read “ ushorting”.
My sister grabbed it from the top shelf, hopped down from the chair and shuffled over to my grandmother who was standing there waiting. My sister handed her the shortening with shaking hands because it was so heavy. My grandmother took it and set in down on the wooden counter. She took a big wooden spoon and scooped out the white shortening that looked like the color of snow. She plopped it into the bowl and pulled up her sleeves. Her fingers began to mold and lather the baby’s brain.
Watching my grandmother was like watching a dancer dancing to a beautiful song. My grandmother swayed and moved as if there was music in the room. Her long purple skirt danced around her legs. When she was finished we all looked into the bowl, the once dried up pink brain was now all plump and back to its regular size. My grandmother grabbed the bowl before anyone of us could touch it with our curious fingers. She swayed as she walked and headed back to the baby’s bed room, we all followed her in her foot steps.
In the black rickety crib laid my baby brother who looked like he was sleeping but drooling profusely all over himself. His room was a green color that had parts of the walls paint chipping off. The only things in his room were his old crib and a rocking chair that my grandmother rocks him to sleep in. Gran Gran picked him up and wiped all the drool of him with her brown stained apron. “Kira hold this for me.” She said as she thrust the bowl into my hands. You would think a baby’s brain with water and shortening would smell bad, but surprisingly it smelt like roses. I guessed my grandmother used her homemade rose water.

I held the bowl watching my grandmother in awe. She cradle my brother in one arm and held his brain in her other palm. She began to chant something in the ancient tongue, and then something amazing happened. My brother’s head began to grow in size; it grew to the size of a watermelon. My grandmother tapped twice on the top of his head. Right then and there was a hole and it began to get larger. My grandmother took the brain; she gently laid it into my brother’s head. She then stroked it three times and it attached itself to my brother’s skull. She tapped once more on his brain and the hole closed up. He woke up babbling away in baby language. My grandmother started to coo back at him and rock him back and forth.
I walked out of the room with disbelief, realizing that my grandmother was some sort of medicine woman. I looked at the room around me to find any hints of this, on top of her table was a beautiful isanemone which never dies for some reason. I ran over to her secret cabinet. I pulled it open to find what I was looking for. I saw glass vials filled with different herbs and potion, on the floor of the cabinet was an old leather book. I took it out and laid it onto the table.
I was about to open it when my grandmother walked in with the bowl that had my brothers brain in it just seconds ago.
“Kira? What are you doing with my book?” She asked in a soft cooing voice.
“When did you become a medicine woman?” I shouted back at her with frustration
“It’s in our blood baby, we have always been able to do magic and healing things.” She said as she washed out the bowl
“Why haven’t you said anything?” I whined
“You where young” She answered.
“Then why does baby brother’s brain keep coming out?” I asked
“Your brother was born with a mental disease and your mother tried to fix it but it went terribly wrong.” She said wiping her hands clean on her apron.
“Oh, well what happen to mother?” I asked
“Well, I guess your old enough to know. She ran away, she couldn’t handle the responsibility of messing up her baby boy’s life.”
“Oh, well she really didn’t did she, brother still acts like a normal baby just his brain pops out every now and then right?”
“Yes, that’s true. Never forgot, I will always love you and never leave you.”
I walked over to her and she embraced me into a warm loving hug. She smelled of peppermint and fresh cotton. She stroked my hair and began to sing an ancient song, Her voice coming from deep inside her.
“Will I get to learn the ways of the healing?” I asked.
She looked down and smiled at me and stroked my long black hair.
“In time my child, in time.”

The author's comments:
I want to thank my creative writting teacher for the prompt and made me think and use my creative mind.

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