Thursday, January 03, 2008

Niece

I stopped in a cafe near my office and asked her to make me a tuna sandwich to watch her move. Gentle and graceful, she quietly took out the things needed for the sandwich, slicing off of a fresh loaf, opening a container, giving a little sniff. As she reached for a knife, I remembered the days of watching her on the parallel bars in a stuffy gym loud with kids, during the annual recital of her tumbling class.

She has always danced, at least in my eyes. Even seeing her walk along a sidewalk on her way to class or to her car, tilted forward slightly like her grandmother, I see her dancing. Swaying, fluttering her hands like the ends of branches, fingertips touching down, alighting on things. Like a sparrow on a windowledge, jittery with the cold but excited to be doing things. Turning this way and that, seeing from all angles, lifting off, gone.

Rachel reached up to the extra large box of plastic wrap, pulled out a sheet long enough to wrap the sandwich and corn chips, and yanked downward in a deft swoop. Holding what appeared to be a shining piece of air between her hands, she brought them around the sandwich, patting down, then brought it over to me. Want a bag, she asked, knowing I'd probably say no. Her good upbringing and good bones on display behind the counter. All the down-to-earth capable hands in her family background, reaching back to the grandmother of my grandmother's grandmother there in the room holding out my lunch sweetly, confidently, unbearably full of grace.






4 Comments:

Blogger KathyR said...

Lovely, as always.

Tuna-sandwich-making rendered as dance/poetry/art.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Matt K. said...

That was a wonderful observation. I was actually trying to guess the "life stage" of your niece as I read - child? teen? young adult? And the descriptions were great, particularly the one for the plastic wrap.

8:01 AM  
Blogger Hel said...

How very beautiful.

And how awesome to make a new friend who knows how dogs can curl up in ones heart and change its landscape forever.

10:56 PM  
Blogger Hel said...

I came back to read it again and it was even better the second time around.

9:13 AM  

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