I came back one last time and waited.
How long had I been in the room? It seemed like forever but it was no life sentence. The moments that passed were like treasures that I would unwrap to release memories, like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. The stillness of the room was magical yet foreboding. Hazy shadows moved then froze with clarity as if captured in a photo or painting. Was that what living in the moment felt like when the past and future held no significance?
I was stood in the empty room opposite Great-granddaddies rocking chair, with its arms and feet worn thin from decades of rocking on hard stone floors; the connection I sensed with my past kin stirred an uneasiness of deja vu. In the far corner stood a full-length mirror angled as though capturing the illuminating, mesmerising summer light, and transporting it into the room. Blurred leaves appeared to dance like circling elves in their green-toned attire.
Glancing at myself in the mirror, I remembered a different me; a youthful, optimistic soul, not the sallow, drawn reflection full of weariness.
Mewing sounds broke me from my reverie, blowing at the burning embers of my heart, giving me encouragement to experience the beautiful scene unfolding before me. A woman sat in the rocking chair cradling a baby; it was Elizabeth with her daughter, my Grandchild, who I had never met. Short, muffled footsteps moved quickly down the corridor and entered the room. Elizabeth smiled at three year old Maisey, who skipped passed, catching the white voiles that fluttered like angel’s wings. She pirouetted, tittering with delight as her sea-green, flared dress bellowed out. Suddenly she stopped and pointed, calling out Granny Alice. She looked through me, to the drawer top at a fallen photo frame. Indeed, it was the photo of Elizabeth and me rocking in the chair all those years ago.
Elizabeth called her over and hugged her with a free arm. Kiss, kiss for Alice, she responded and leaned in to place a gentle kiss on her sister’s nose. I’m so honoured that she named her after me.
Again those feelings stirred. The seed of understanding quickly flourished and my heart and soul, in contradiction, grew in love and died with grief. I looked up for the last time into Alice’s eyes for acknowledgment and she looked back with ancient eyes and smiled. The laughter of happy girls echoed behind me as I drifted away towards the luminescence.