Old Magic

I spent the summers of my childhood at grandma’s. Waking with the sun to milk deliveries, first in glass bottles, then in plastic packets of original, chocolate, and strawberry. I loved licking the caps of those glass bottles where a thick layer of cream collected. The plastic packets required more work to open. I’d gnaw at a corner of the square packet, spitting out tiny pieces of plastic, until grandma came to my rescue with a pair of scissors.

One fine morning, I was drinking strawberry milk when a ray of sunlight caught my eye. It had painted a slanted square on the wood floor, like a doorway into another realm. Curious. I stepped up to the light and saw that it was not a concrete entity but the gathering of infinite specks, floating leisurely in the air. Were they going somewhere, like swallows migrating in early fall? I searched for the pattern that wasn’t there.

I knew then I had discovered the secret of the universe. I spun under the light, smiling as I felt its warmth on my bare skin. I saw love, next to despair, joy and sorrow, beauty in all its forms, and time itself as the sliver of light moved across the floor. I watched till it disappeared altogether, feeling no need to intervene. I bent down to feel the still warm floor with my hand, erasing all uncertainties of what I witnessed. Then I finished my strawberry milk and ran downstairs to look for grandma.

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