Imagine a sixty-something woman wearing light blue jeans and a pink sweater.

A single gold band – her only piece of jewelry – adorns her ring finger. Her hair is thick and short and silver. She’s walking hand-in-hand with a brown-haired little boy who won't stop jumping.

The woman was my grandmother, my babulya, in 1992. I'm the boy. And little did I know I was about to witness a miracle.

It was a hot summer day and our daily walk had taken us farther than usual from home. We were about a mile or two away from the glass of water I was desperately craving. I was four years old at the time, uncomfortable and impatient. So I flexed a little:


My grandmother, however, was patient. She was tactful and kind. She was nurturing and accommodating and, most importantly, she had powers.

“You want some water?” She asked calmly.


“Well, it’s a good thing I brought a thermos full of tea. Do you want tea instead?" She knew I loved tea.


“Then make me a cup with your hand, I need somewhere to pour it.”

I immediately tucked my thumb down and curled my fingers around it. My grandmother did the same with her own hand.

“Hold still,” she said, as she poured the tea into my tiny, clenched fist. I frantically motioned for her to stop just before the invisible liquid spilled over the top of my hand. I put my fingers to my lips and drank. My elbow rose steadily with each gulp.

It was damn good.