Monday, December 21, 2009

The Bells

I watch from above, my head in between the banister rails like a jailhouse window as she dances through the glass door and into the foyer. In one swift move her coat slips off of her shoulders and flies through the air, ringing the rack and causing it to sway. She grabs it, into her arms, like a lost dance partner of her younger years and giggles. I watch her and the coat rack swing around the entry way like a cartoon romance. “I do very well today, sir. Thank you for asking.” She sets her coat rack man back up in the corner and curtseys, thanking him for the dance. “You have lovely moves yourself.” She winks and then glides into the living room. I tip toe quickly down the stairs and peek around the corner. She stands in front of the mantle, one finger caressing the corners of his framed picture. “Do you hear that, sugar?” my grandmother asks, without turning around to face me. How she always hears me even when I’m quite like a mouse blows me away. I come around the corner and stand at her side, looking up at his picture. “Did you hear the Christmas bells he played for you?” I shake my head, knowing I will disappoint her again. I can never hear the bells she speaks of. “Well, he’s playing them for you. Just keep listening. Promise me, you will always keep listening.” I promise her I will, like I do every year and then we join my parents, hand in hand, for our Christmas dinner. We eat and laugh and open presents and as always, I miss Grandpa as I listen for the bells.

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