I am surprised to find a person important to me opens the door

I traveled softly in warm air, clouds and stars, surveyed our planet from my safe pillow-filled boat, landed my craft on a speckled whitegolden shore, stepped into salty shallows that slapped my ankles, stepped inland as Lyndsay spoke, into the forest that allowed me passage—you may close your eyes—I shut mine, place your hands on your stomach, I lay my hands on my breath, follow the guided imagery of Lyndsay Morris, Yoga calm leader of the last session of a long Friday, evening, a week ago at the SeaTac Marriott conference Center, my final two clock hours from the Washington Association for the Education of Young children before leaping into the northbound snarl of weekend-has-come traffic. Lyndsay instructed us to clamber into our individual pillow-filled boats, enjoy the gentle ups and downs of breath and wave coinciding, rocking to safety—the forest with no marked path, no sign of patterns or trespass, I came, as Lindsay’s kind candy voice describes, upon a red-doored cottage of safety, and knocked. You are surprised, she said, to find someone important to you open the door—and her voice vanished and I am with him. I am with him. He lives. He stands. A man at the welcoming threshold. My crying greets the wonder. I cry for the discovery. I cry to have missed him these thirty years. Missed his baritone chuckle, his silliness—introducing a shrub to a friend, This is Vibernum Carlesi, as you are Mark Banner. I let the tears drip off my face, my eyes still closed against the room full of strangers. With eyes closed, I am with my grandfather at the door of the safe cottage. I worked to return to the regular breaths of Lyndsay’s lesson, to hear her say, “Listen to what this person has to say,” and she falls silent to give their words full sound in our ears. I tried to hear him, always wise or teasing, but cannot leave my party of discovery. He is here. He is here all the time. I can come back. I can be with him again. He was here all the time. All the time. In his life, too. He was here, a grandfather of the mind. My grandfather of the mind. We must open our eyes to the fluorescent lit SeaTac Marriott Conference Center Snoqualmie room number two. We must complete evaluation forms. We must debrief. Lyndsay asks what might happen if you do this with children? An unknowing attendee says, They might cry. I wave my hand from the back corner table. Some see my wet face. Not just children. I leave early. Not to take my tears to privacy, but to join the northbound snarl, to meet my friends, to eat, to watch a play—Death by Design—and keep my secret. He is waiting for me. When I return to the red door I will wrap my arms around his skinny warmth and kiss his dry smooth cheek.


About pamelahobartcarter

Pamela Hobart Carter is a writer and educator. She and Arleen Williams are No Talking Dogs Press. They have written several series of easy readers for adult English Language Learners and other adults learning to read. PHC is the author of Brace Yourself, a survival guide for adults undergoing orthodontia.
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