With her nose pressed against the window, so close to the glass that she almost couldn’t see through her own breath, the girl looked outside. It was a bit misty. Whiffs of clouds passed by and submerged the world in a haze of white light.
When will they come, Grandma?
The woman sighed, every day the same old question. She went over to her grandchild and petted her curls. Then she said softly:
I don’t know, darling.
The girl stayed near the window – like a shadow – and waited. If she concentrated and watched real closely, she saw her little brother. Sam was a stalwart knight today, his stick a dangerous sword. He ran after his friend, waving the stick weapon, when suddenly the other boy turned. They fought bravely, laughing, with red cheeks from their exertions.
Come on over, I want to play too!
She banged on the window.
Why don’t you play with the others? Hide-and-seek, or tag, you love to do that.
Not today, Granny, I’d rather stay here.
The child sat down again, but her gaze was outward bound, longingly. Her hand prints were already fading and the glass resumed its transparent appearance. With her white skin and blond hair, she looked like a young princess. Gray eyes that were far too wise for her age. Resignation had changed her face, enlightened every now and then by a fit of impatience. Like now.
Why doesn’t Mommy want to spend time with me, Grandma?
The woman turned, alarmed, and hastily went back to the window. She took the girl’s unhappy little face in her wrinkled hands and gazed deeply into her eyes.
No, child, don’t you ever think that. Your Mama loves you dearly and longs to be with you. Always, every minute. But it just can’t be, sweetheart, it’s too soon.
And why does Dad always have to work? It just isn’t fair! Why can’t they visit us sometimes?
Silent, the old lady kissed her grandchild on her brow. How often had they had this conversation? Through the window, she saw her daughter calling Sam back into the house. It was time for supper.
She took the delicate small hands in her own and held them tightly.
Sweetie, please look at me. You know why, don’t you, darling? You know they don’t have wings yet, like us…