“Everybody here wanted something More.”
She sat in her chair, the high backed beast with cushions that sank under her weight and welcomed her like family, the chair that was Her Throne, that she owned like a Queen, complete with hassock that had a divot her legs had settled into because of the way she sat, when she didn’t have to move.
When she’d sit and gaze out the window for hours upon hours. In the background, Sesame Street mixed with Mr. Rogers blending into Julia Child and her wine and butter and cream…and the Galloping Gourmet with yet more libations…and butter…and cream…Occasionally Zoom broke through, or, even better, The Electric Company. She liked that one best. Tom Lehrer and Morgan Freeman and Rita “West Side Story’ Moreno. And, when she could watch what she wanted….which remained PBS…
The fact remained that she had to pick up her toddler-granddaughter from All Souls.
That was the steeple with the cross she could see from her throne. Brilliant white and sun-blessed golden on good days…pale gray and dull bronze on bad ones…evermore it was her locus. Her focus. What she stared at until her eyes teared no matter the day nor the weather nor the hour, what she stared at with all of her being and kept asking…
The cross blazed in sunlight and dimmed in storm clouds, but never did give her an answer.
She knew the little one was watching her. Her daughter’s child. Named after her with an addition that…was…current in song. And…Ultimately unfair, but…it recognized her linage. To a degree.
She was quiet, the little one. Much like her own child was until the thunderstorm that was so powerful it set the windows rattling and curtains flying like the devil himself was dancing in the room…when she wailed and wailed and wailed…
And then…He was Dead.
Watchful, this little one was. ‘Fine.’ She said to herself. ‘Let her watch. Better for her to know.’ Her mouth turned further down day by day..
She had green eyes. The kind that changed with her mood, her feelings. Chameleon eyes, shifty eyes, eyes that would speak truth even as her mouth formed lies, needed or not.
She had the easy, loving, happy-go-lucky smile…….
No, she would not acknowledge it. Although she did sometimes, and thus….thus the Bond was formed between them.
The little one watched, perched somewhere or another in the living room. Like a goddamned monkey she was. On the back of the couch. On the back of the recliner that only Her Uncle sat in, mostly. On the back of her own Throne. On the hassock. On the radiator cover where she picked plaster off the wall because it was loose and watched it fall, fascinated by its crumbling so easily when it seemed so permanent. On the floor, seemingly absorbed in her coloring or doodling or whatever or “The French Chef” or “Wabbit Season!”…
She often, in askance, looked at the little one, who bore so much of her own daughter…and…son…at that age, and cried out, in her mind –
The Watergate Hearings and no school were fucking up the normal morning routine.
The little one was bouncing around again, distracting her from her normal reverie. From the corner of her Throne to the hassock and back again. BOING. BOING. BOING. BOING.
Until she slipped on the last bounce from Throne to hassock and landed badly.
The whimper broke her back into reality.
“What did you do?!!??” she yelled.
She picked the little one up from where she lay on the cushion, right arm bent at a curious angle, and heard another whimper. She looked at her granddaughter, and the green eyes were somehow both bright and dull at the same time. Yellow flecks sparked, but then muted, then sparked….then muted.
She tried to explain to her daughter on the phone when she called at Noon that the little one was injured, but….she knew she wasn’t telling the whole tale.
The little one bore most of the brunt of The Anger, especially as they were to leave on vacation that night with her godparents, leaving Her alone with the puppy. Taffy. The “Gift” to her grandchild from…
Oh, the hell that was let loose by her daughter. The wild eyed-fear…
Some was directed at Her, yes. But she could say “She didn’t say anything…” and was believed, because it was Truth.