We walked down to the great meadow, your dancing hands accidentally bumped into mine as we navigated the steep terrain. At the bottom, I turned to you and touched your round cheek in my outstretch palm. Dragonflies and small winged insects hummed in the still, warm summer air, swimming in circles, catching the light. If I looked closely, I could see my face reflected in your wide eyes, and in mine I could see yours shining back. Gentle mirror, growing and reshaping the tools I had given you, and the crutches.

Your skin smelled of jasmine and candy as I swooped in for a quick kiss behind your moist ear, where I paused for a breath. You giggled out loud, teaching me again the precise expression of girlish laughter. I echoed you, and you in turn echoed back. We went on like that for what seemed like hours. Laughter pealing through the grass, growing and evolving on itself until finally the joyful noise completed full circle and sounded the same as the very first laugh. With that you turned and ran across the field, a sly eye turning back, daring pursuit. I submitted and felt my feet leave the ground, fine strong muscles stretching and exerting against the bone, against the air, against time.

Dropping our pace, we made our way down the bank, toes slipping in between the muddy reeds. You squealed as you dipped in your feet, and then a leg, into the freezing water. Lotion melted away from your skin making swirling rainbows in the water. Your damp, sandy hand reached up to mine to steady yourself. I was taken back to a time with your father, when we stood along the Bay in the rain. Fresh in love, he slipped his wet hands into mine slowly as we began to kiss. The smell of his wet dog that accompanied us filled my nose, a scent that mingled with his, an etched moment. Your exclamation about a swiftly skimming water bug pulled me back into reality.

“There’s something I need to tell you,” I said, taken with the beauty of the moment, skirting the gravity of what I was to share. Your silence communicated readiness, but you wouldn’t take your eyes from the water and the playful insects.

“My grandmother died.”

“My grandma’s dead!?” you yelped, shocking me into weight of my statement.

“No, My grandmother’s dead,” I replied, feeling a sudden rush of possession, childish pride swarming through me. She was my grandma. She marked the passage of my tender youth. It for me she made crochet angel ornaments, weaved blankets, knitted stuffed animals, dragged to countless auctions, church fundraisers and square dances. It was me who she faithfully sent annual subscriptions to the World Wildlife Federation, pressed leaves dressed in fall colors, and maple sugar candy from Vermont. My grandmother, my grandma is dead. Maturity tapered these thoughts. This moment was being recorded by your fresh young mind to echo into eternity, I was sure.

“What I mean to say is your great-grandmother is dead. She was my grandma. She was an amazing person. Your grandmothers are still alive.” You were already mourning the loss of a grandparent you never knew, however. Within moments you came to realize that one day you would loose your grandmothers as well. I tried my best to reassure you that would be a long while off, feeling helpless and stupid for not telling you more carefully. Your first glimpse of mortality.


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