Friday, June 27, 2008

Footsteps

He comes to me when I walk.

Last night, with Finley riding on my chest, I took a walk. Sean was putting the girls to bed as I slipped out. We walked slowly, Finley's hands held one of mine as her mouth moved along as if playing the harmonica. A mellow breeze moved the air, cooling and chasing away the humidity of the day. I smiled at the checkerboard of perfectly manicured lawns and dandelion dotted yards, a challenge to step up our own yard work and license to slack at the same time.

A few blocks from home we came upon one of the biggest houses in town, infamous for its owners mean, mean dogs. Watching for the dogs, I was surprised to come face-to-face with a little boy. He was tearing around in the yard in a tshirt and underwear, little tighty-whities, but black. His legs were pale, his knees knobby, and the sight of him screeching to a halt as he saw me had me chuckling aloud.

We turned the corner at the end of the street, a blur of pale legs and dark underwear danced at the corner of my eye. The grass along the sidewalk was dewy, droplets of water from an afternoon watering clung to the thick blades. Turning another corner the view changed, a canopy of trees spread out before us, heavily blossomed bushes bordered the path and the porches ahead seemed to preen as the perennials coloring the ground beneath them shone in the setting sun.

I felt it a moment after breathing in the fragrance of the neighborhood, tiger lilies, lilacs and fresh cut grass. A sting in my eyes, the sudden burn of new tears, a lump in my throat threatening to engulf me and then he was there. The smell of his skin, the prick of his whiskers and the sound of his laugh.

I stopped, looking around for the specific trigger, my eyes coming to rest on an enormous fruit tree, gnarly limbs twisting out from a stocky trunk. My eyes blurred, Fin's feet gently tapped on my sides, and I sobbed. Three more shudders came and went as tears coursed down my cheeks landing on the swirls of blonde and brunette hair on Fin's head. Blinking and breathing in the heady scent of summer, I nodded and smiled. The passage from keeping the pain of his absence at bay to the unmistakable knowledge that he was there had hurt, but I was through. Aware.

And so, holding Fin's bare foot, I lifted my face to the beauty before me and said with a crooked smile, "Hey Grandpa."

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23 comments:

flutter said...

This is why I am firmly convinced in the afterlife :)

amanda said...

my grandma died when i was only three. but there have been moments when i swear i can smell her and feel her right next to me.

such a powerful feeling.

thanks for sharing.

Ree said...

Your grampa and my gramma. I have a feeling they're friends.

Heather said...

Oh gosh. All of my grandparents had passed except one by the time I graduated high school. Then she passed within the next year.

My son is named after one of my grandfathers and my oldest daughter periodically tells me she misses grandpa K...even though he died a full 13 years before her birth.

My youngest daughter's middle name is my paternal grandmother's name too.

I miss them all too. Scents trigger memories for me all the time.

Beautiful writing, as usual.

Lisa Milton said...

This blew me away. So powerful and lovely, Amanda.

Thank you.

Cheryl said...

Funny how that sneaks up on us, huh? Beautiful Ms. A. Gorgeous.

Lara said...

yeah, it's a bittersweet feeling, to find them again so suddenly. beautifully written, though.

karen said...

I always, ALWAYS found a penny or two on walks with my Grandpa and I was delighted by every one. I was 15 before I figured out he was surreptitiously chucking them ahead of us as we went along. To this day, I think of him with every found coin.

Pgoodness said...

that was beautiful

carrie said...

And that's just the way it always is, isn't it.

Amazing.

Janet said...

What a gift that he does come to you. Beautiful.

jen said...

and how lucky for you that you are able to pay attention.

beautiful, love.

Amy said...

Beautiful. I know that feeling all too well. It's powerful and comforting all at the same time.

Hugs to you.

BetteJo said...

Wonderful moment in a bittersweet kind of way.

Mocha said...

Aww, you write so beautifully. So descriptively. I love it.

adria said...

Beautifully written.

Life is full of those bittersweet moments. I firmly believe that we just have to be open to them, or we'll miss too many of them altogether.

Colleen said...

So beautifully written. Tears in my eyes.

Kimberly said...

This is achingly beautiful. My grandmother died when I was in high school and I know there have been times when she's been right there with me.

Thanks for a lovely post.

Myshka said...

Even when they're not there, they're there. I know how you feel, and thanks for helping me remember to stop and listen once in a while. xo

Momma Bean said...

Again, your words have brought me to tears. What a wonderful moment!

carrie said...

Check out the Perfect Posts! ;)

Rachael said...

What an amazing post. It moved me to tears, life is so amazing.

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