The other morning, just before waking, I had a strange, potent, boring, unusual dream. I’ll skip all the parts about finding out that my grandparents had separately faked their own deaths and opened a bookstore with a courtyard and duplex out back. And the part where my grandfather asked me to come and clean out my grandmother’s things because she really was dead for real this time. And the part about how my grandmother had a giant horde of milk-glass in a room that was part vanity part treasure trove. I’ll even skip over the part where Gary Burghoff showed up dressed pretty much as he had in MASH with a signed copy of his autobiography for my grandfather and needed me to provide an invoice for it.
I’ll skip all that so we can get to the part where, overwhelmed with complicated grief and frustration, I fled my grandmother’s apartment into the courtyard and found myself spinning arms wide with my bare feet on the softest mossy grass I could ever know. Eyes cast upwards into the bows of a fantastic magnolia tree. Spinning and crying and laughing looking up into the blossoms letting the sun blind my eyes, blue sky and pink petals all blurring together.
And then I woke. Dizzy. Confused. Grieving.
That image of the magnolia tree remained fixed in my mind. All day. All night. And still this morning. Unshakeable.