Violets for Vi

by - April 9, 2011

I am seven years old.  Barefoot.  I smell of outside.  Of dirt.  Of dandelion milk.  Of stale water from the steel rain basin behind the shed.  I sit at the crest of the ditch, scratchy grass between my toes, holding the beige cereal box counter.  I am important.  A freelance agent collecting invaluable information for some bigwig boss.

Cars aren't nice yet.  Most people are driving what they bought at the beginning of the 70's - long boats with hard bench seats covered in old quilts - and every time one passes I push down the button on my counter, keeping an accurate account of the vehicles on Highway Six.  Sometimes it's how many black or green but today it's all of them and there are moments when it's all I can do to keep up.

And I am happy - here at this little cottage beside the road, north garden overgrown to nothing but twisted sticks and vines too thick to pass through - front door crossed with twigs, cement stoop dusty and covered in leaves from many autumns past (they can't use it anyway - the little rabbit-eared television blocks it on the other side) - the south yard dominated by a massive weeping willow, boughs hung heavy and sad like a million veils that wave gently and whisper sweetly and beneath it's mighty green canopy I am in Wonderland and I am Alice and I am always a little sad when I don't find the Cheshire cat no matter how hard I search or wish.

The south door squeaks as I enter the cottage and dust motes dance in the sun coming through the kitchen window.  It's never bright.  It's always warm.

She is a wide woman, round face rouged in love as she accepts the three little violets I picked from her lawn.  "How many today?" she asks, her voice warbling, her question sincere.

"Seventy-two!" I say proudly and show her the proof on the counter before tucking it away in it's safe spot beside the sink.

She serves me noodles with tuna.  Peas from a can.  Pudding with a skin on it.

She is comfort.  She is safety.  And it doesn't matter that she smells like old person and won't let me play upstairs because she loves me beyond a capacity I have to understand, simply because I am there in her care and she has enough love to fill a thousand oceans and she will live forever simply because love lives forever...

I am thirty-one.  The cottage sold years ago.  Messy bramble cleared away.  Leaves raked.  Windows washed.  Wonderland stripped from the yard.  Magic gone.

And so is she.  Passed away from the shadows of aged pain into the arms of Jesus.  I am grateful for her life, for the way she treasured me and built into me and kept on loving me even though I stopped going to visit.  And now the excuse of 'busy' seems wasted and I wish for one more day that I could pick the violets from my own yard for her and greet her weary, sweet face and kiss her papery cheek and say thank you and mean it with my whole being, knowing that much of the goodness in me is there because of her and her heart - vast as the sea.

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  1. Tear jerker. Absolutely beautiful as usual Alanna. I loved how you compared her love to the ocean on a few occasions. I might steal that thought at some point. I loved this.


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