Helen's Harp

'Ten o'clock at night?' she exclaimed.
It had long since gotten dark.
'I see lights over there, and a darkness over there. And when you stand between me and the light, I can almost see your shadow'
Her eyes were silver and unseeing, catching the glint of the chandelier above. She sat in her silk white night gown and a whiter terry robe untied loosely round her waist. Her frizzy hair was a grey halo flaming off her scalp, and when she looked at me, she looked both far beyond and yet no farther than the insides of her eyes.
I handed her the autoharp, and she became the vision of a perfect fiery seraphim waiting on the edges of this world.
Her blind fingers touched the air gingerly, looking for the keys as she softly strummed away. The notes were distant and tinny.
'It has such a gentle sound'
and sometimes when she closed her eyes, I couldn't tell if she was sleeping or not.
'I keep them closed so much now' she said. 'I can't see with them open anyway, and it helps with the dryness'. She had lived her entire life in a desert.
But as she told us stories of travels and family, childhood and motherhood, her eyes would dart back and forth, scan the horizon--visions of a distant life sprang up on the canvas of her inner eye.
She was strumming so softly we could barely hear, but the notes were perfect until we put the harp away.

1 comment:

Howell Clan said...

Alex, this is beautiful! I can feel your love for her in every word and it makes me teary. I'm so grateful you have been close by to love her!