For A Grandfather

7 11 2006

There he was. A grandfather, wise and storied, holding what I could only presume to be his granddaughter. There was mud on their shoes, on the stroller too, perhaps they had taken a stroll around the Commons. I wondered where the girl was born, who she might grow up to be, places she would travel to. She was still pure, immaculate – tabula rasa. Infinite potentials limited by constantly limiting experiences. In his arms, she knew she was safe, taken care of. He could understand her garbled words, her first attempts at language, so unabashedly thrown out, so lovingly received; when will she learn to become embarrassed? On the playgrounds, the sleepovers, or the lunchtables?

She strectched her arms out as if to embrace her desired thing, that unknown unexpressible beyond her grasp. Of course, it was Grandpa’s job to translate, but in this case he could not and from nowhere, like magic, he pulls out a small biteable chocolatechip cookie. I smile, as she does not know me and may never. But to me now they are beautiful; a photograph unworthy of the photographer, the elderly and the young, like light seeping in through a crack, beautiful. He could be my grandpa, too, I think. And maybe, that’s me in his arms. That’s the beauty of it, I suppose, there in the photograph, under the wrinkles and wrinkleless exteriors we see two bound by family, untouched, unbothered by the shouting man captured still on his left. The scene is alive and yet at the center are Grandpa and the little girl, too archetypal to embody the life of an individual, only as a form, and ideal, with only the distinct personalities of a child and a grandfather, of any child and any grandfather.

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