She lives in our apartment building. Upstairs. The third
floor is hard to climb sometimes.
But I don‚t mind. My name is Benjamin. I‚m six.
Mrs. Graham is nice.
She walks all bent over. Dad says it‚s because Mrs. Graham is old. But I say it‚s because she points a lot.
I bend over too when I point at birds in my back yard. ‚Mom-Dad. Two more.‚
‚What kind?‚ they ask.
I know they want to learn. ‚Now mom, you have to remember. Chickadees,‚ I say.
‚Right,‚ she answers.
I‚m smart too. Mrs. Graham says so.
She likes it when I take her for a walk. She walks slowly.
And we talk.
She says I‚m a good boy. ‚And good boys deserve a treat,‚ she says.
Peanut butter cookies are my favorite. ‚Yummy,‚ I say.
Today we talk even more than yesterday. She gets like that sometimes. Talk-Talk-Talk.
‚When I was a young girl‚‚ All her stories begin the same.
But when I listen her eyes light up. They are like fireflies at night. I know. My parents took me to the cottage last summer.
Mrs. Graham wants me to listen to her. ‚Polite boys don‚t look away,‚ she says. So I listen. And I look at her.
‚My first son looked like you,‚ she says. ‚You also have dark hair and bushy eyebrows. And long legs, just like my Kevin.‚
I like to hear her talking about her son.
‚Where does he live?‚ I ask.
‚He went far away,‚ she answers. And I can see a tear. So I don‚t ask any more questions.
‚Time to walk some more,‚ I say.
‚Yes, and talk-talk-talk too,‚ she answers.
I listen, about her house in the country. ‚Packs of fireflies came at night, and the stars were always bright,‚ she says.
‚Oh, the times my husband and I canoed on the river.‚ She looks at me. And smiles.
‚We had cows to chase. Then we played on grass, greener than crayons.‚ She finally took a breath.
‚I have a whole stack of crayolas,‚ I say.
‚Ssshh,‚ she whispers in my ear. ‚I had so many birthday blessings,‚ she says.
‚Now I want to thank you,‚ she said.
It was time for me to go. Supper was waiting. Mom too. And dad must be home from work.
Mrs. Graham gave me a huge goodbye smile.
She also gave me a bag of grapes.
* * *
¬ Richard & Esther Provencher
My wife, Esther and I really enjoy writing. It is an excellent salve, in addition to prayers, a great wife and family during my continuing recovery from a stroke/aneurysm. You can contact us at: email@example.com re comments on our work. We live in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada. Pray for others.