I stood by the piano last night whispering a little story about The Princess to Snowman, and then I turned, and my father was smiling right at me.
He smiled from a 4 by 6 frame holding a snapshot taken at Boothbay Harbor in the summer of 1991. The baby in his arms was Snowman.
How is it that someone who has been gone for almost ten years, someone you haven’t even been thinking about particularly, can suddenly be so enormously present and absent at the same time?
I’ve read the words "tears sprung," and I suspect I’ve used the words as a description myself, but I’ve never felt quite the spring in them, the force of a spring, that I felt as tears suddenly shot out of my eyes.
Snowman was pulling up to stand that summer, and I remember he smiled delightedly, watching his Granddaddy drum with pencils on a coffee table while singing, in his not-very-musical-voice, "Big Noise Blew in from Winnetka."
God, what a loss that he cannot know Snowman now and hear him play his clarinet, cannot know his grandson appreciates Benny Goodman just as he did so long ago. Sometimes it feels soft and nostalgic; sometimes it gives me pleasure to know they have joys in common, as when I remember the love of Jane Austen I shared with my late mother-in-law and think how happy she would be that The Princess is a reader, too.
It seems the heart is elastic, and in one sharp moment its bonds strained by old grief, potential energy let fly.