Tuesday, March 24, 2009

mistakes & miracles

“I have brought you something, but you must promise me that when you are not playing with it you will keep it in your room, alright?”

Nola promised she would.

Grandee took a rectangle of thick lavender wool from the brown bag and laid it across her lap. “I knit this when I was pregnant with your father. But I was new at knitting and realized soon after I started it that it was going to turn out smaller than I’d thought. I’d misjudged the gauge of the yarn, you see, but thought I might as well continue with it since I needed the practice, to say the least.” And then she added in a conspiratorial whisper, “Truth be told I thought I was going to have a girl and she might could use this as a wee doll blanket. I never had my girl, until you that is,” she said squeezing Nola’s hand. “So, now this is yours. I think it’s perfect for Bear-Bear while he recovers, don’t you?” And with that she wrapped him up in the blanket. She held the swaddled Teddy bear like a baby and rocked him in one arm while stroking Nola’s hair with the other hand. Nola looked at Grandee rocking her wounded bear wrapped tightly in that thick blanket and remembered, “Just like baby Nolan!”

Grandee had been staring off into space, lost in the motion of rocking and stroking Nola’s hair for a moment, but at the sound of her brother’s name she stopped and looked intently at Nola, “what was that?”

“Like baby Nolan. You said they wrapped him up tightly in a warm thick blanket and your father rocked him all night. But baby Nolan died anyway.”

Grandee’s expression changed to a pained grimace, she grabbed Nola and pulled her onto her lap, hugging her tightly with the bear still clasped to her chest surrounding both of them in her strong arms, “Nola, is that what you’re thinking about, my poor brother, may he rest in peace?” and Grandee made the sign of the cross as she always did when she spoke of Nolan or Ethan. “Sweetness, Bear-Bear isn’t dead, and he will never die. As long as there is a scrap of fabric left to him, even a few measly torn bits, this bear will live forever.”

“Like a miracle, Grandee? Is it a miracle Bear-Bear was saved?”

Her grandmother looked at her and smiled, “Maybe, yes, yes I suppose he is a miracle bear. Why, he survived the terrible jowls of certain death,” she proclaimed with dramatic flourish, making Nola giggle. “Ah, there, now that’s the true miracle…a smile like that on a day like this.” And Grandee snuggled Nola’s cheek against her own, still clutching the swaddled bear and the child both.

“Nola, do you know what today is? It’s been years now you know. Ten years since your own poor brother died. Today is the anniversary of the accident, I think perhaps that’s why your mother isn’t herself, she wasn’t thinking. She didn’t mean for anything bad to happen.”


“Yes Love.”

“Do you mean she didn’t mean anything bad to happen to Bear-Bear or…?”

“Both, she didn’t mean for anything bad to happen to either of them.”

“But it still did.”

“I know, I know.”

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