After slurping up the remaining milk from her cereal bowl before school one morning, curiosity got the best of Heidi’s tongue. “Maw Maw, what are those?” she asked her grandmother.
Maw Maw held the blue plastic case in her wrinkled hands for a long moment before opening the door labeled “T” for Tuesday, as she’d already explained to Heidi the previous day. “These are my pills,” she said, and she took five tablets from the Tuesday slot and swallowed them with a swig of water.
Before she could tuck the case away Heidi asked, “What for?”
Again Maw Maw waited a minute before replying, carefully deciding how to explain medicine to a five year old child. Finally she said, “I take them because each of them makes me a better person.”
Eyes wide with intrigue, Heidi wondered, “How so?”
“Well,” Maw Maw said, removing the pills from the Wednesday slot to use as an example. She pushed a red one forward, away from the bunch, and said, “Take this one for instance. This one gives me hope.”
With Heidi completely captivated Maw Maw continued, pushing a blue one up beside the red one, “And this one makes me strong.” She did this with each of the pills, pills that gave her patience and kept her focused, and then she came to the last pill, a purple one larger and longer than the other round tablets.
Maw Maw took a deep breath before pushing it forward with the others. Heidi sat on the edge of her seat longing to know the last pill’s purpose. At last, Maw Maw said, “And this pill’s for bravery.”
Heidi eyed the pill with a sudden hungry desire for it. She thought about the day before when Tommy had knocked her down on the playground, how all the boys laughed at her when she cried. She wished she’d had a pill for bravery herself.
Her little hand reached across the table for it, but Maw Maw caught her mid-stretch. “Oh, no, Heidi, these pills are only for grownups.”
“But, Maw Maw, I need that pill,” Heidi begged.