Sunday, January 09, 2011

I become increasingly fascinated watching myself live my pre-written script.

Nothing enhances the beauty of a woman more than a smile in your direction.

Work hard. Don't cheat the gift.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Sofia and the New Year

January 4th, 2011. It is the third full day after Sophia's visit. No more "cock-a-doodle-doo" wake up calls, no more six-and-a-half-year-old-granddaughter's energy, no more giggly laughter, no more fun and games (especially her post-dinner version of charades); no more Santa Claus, and no more cuddles and hugs.

The void is just that. The house is suddenly immense. One can actually walk across the floor without tripping over her "children" (dolls and other miniature people). The Xmas tree is down, the trinkets that hung on the tree (some crafted at home and school over forty years ago by Sophia's Mommy when she was a toddler) are put away in the eaves, along with Xmas cards with them from old friends in Sudan.

New memories are stored in the eaves of our hearts...including, and perhaps most especially, our final trip to the airport.

With Grampa, Gammy, Popi Jorge, Mama Mishi and Sofia well in tow, the car pulls up to the curb. Everyone gets out. Luggage is unloaded. Hugs and kisses are given. Warm, clinging ones; I hug first my son-in-law; a particularly heartfelt, sentimental embrace. I kiss him on the cheek. I hug my daughter. She cries; an unusual response. And then a final, magical forever-to-be-remembered hug is given by Sophia to Grandpa: she wraps her arms around my legs, looks up at me. "I had fun playing cards, Grandpa. I had fun playing Candyland , I had fun playing Lion. I had fun playing Mitchell and Violet (her rules: we were brother and sister...I was the baby brother). A slight pause, and then: "I had fun just being with you." She presses her face against me, holds me; a hug seemingly stretched to infinity. I unwrap her arms and smile.

"I love you," I say. "I love you, Grandpa." We all seem to linger to look at one another one last time. Then:

My daughter, my son-in-law, and Sofia start start toward the terminal. Grammy and Grandpa get into the car. Grammy informs Grandpa that Sophia told Grammy she wants to watch us leave. She is waiting by the terminal door, poised behind glass. I close the car door; Grammy's and Grandpa's seat belts are secured. I turn to see Sofia, looking toward us through the glass. She is just standing there, leaning against the door, looking forlornly out at us. I start the car; we wave once, twice, and then a third time. The car slowly leaves, breaking sight lines.

As we weave in and out of airport traffic, I say to Grammy, "For the first time in all her visits to us, Sofia seemed sadder with our leave taking as we usually are with hers. You think it was a sign of her growing up? A sign of her realization that we are growing old, getting nearer to...?"

Grammy says nothing. She stares straight ahead. "Perhaps, being now six-and-a-half, approaching know what they say, seven is the age of reason, " I continue, "when a child begins the full journey to adulthood. Perhaps she realizes that..."

My wife sighs. Not a rebuke; she is not even listening to me.

Her heart has other concerns. It records such events; without understanding, but with great, and enduring, passion. I shut my mouth and open my heart. I realize I was talking to salve my ache.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Happy New Year! Back from Vacation!