Over the years, I’ve written many stories about living on Martha’s Vineyard. I’d like to think that my love for the Vineyard has shown through on more than one occasion. I’ve shared stories about the Flying Horses, the clay cliffs of Aquinnah, my friends and our adventures and my family.
Yet, there’s always been one story I was reluctant to tell. It’s a tale of the blurring of two boundaries. The here and there; past and present; the known and what lies beyond.
There are many of ways to define the two realms. Our place is one way. The place beyond what we know is the other.
Today, for some reason, I feel it’s appropriate to tell this tale. It was some years ago. I was in college. My dad and I were spending a typical summer, in the cottage, on New York Avenue, on the Vineyard.
One lazy rainy afternoon, having nothing in particular to do, I chose to do nothing. I relaxed on the little couch in the living room and just sort of zoned out. The sounds of the rain on the porch roof were very soothing and almost hypnotic.
Quite suddenly, I found I wasn’t alone. This was nothing new there, given my dad, our dog Rex and any number of friends and family. Company was common at any given time.
It was my grandmother, my dad’s mom, and she’d been gone for a couple years. At that moment, I didn’t care and I didn’t think about it. I was glad to see her, hear her voice and get to be with her.
She didn’t look quite as old as I remembered. She was dressed in a nice casual outfit, yet, still neat and pretty. That was grandmother, always trying to look her best.
Grandmother and I did what any two members of our family do when we’re together. We played gin rummy and chatted. Grandmother was always so nice about playing cards with me, especially when I was very young. She let me win.
It felt so very good to be with her and get to tell her of my life. I told her about college and my love of the theatre, the sound of her soft voice made my heart burst with warmth. Between hands, as I shuffled the cards, she got me some graham crackers and a glass of milk, something she always kept around for a visit from her grandchildren. As the afternoon wore on, I found myself growing fatigued. I could barely keep my eyes open.
She said, “It’s all right, you can go to sleep.”
I don’t want you to leave,” I replied. “And I know you will and I know moments like these are few and far between.”
She smiled. “I will be with you always. A part of me is within you and so we can never be parted.”
I felt better and sleep came easily. Later, when I awoke, it was as I expected. She was gone. I felt a hard cold punch to my heart. I wondered if it had merely been a dream. To this day, I wonder it still, but I will say this, there were graham cracker crumbs on the floor.
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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