I watched her, as she sat on the porch her eyes set to the skies; it had been a long time since she saw anything but somehow even if her eyes no longer saw them the stars still shone in the dark, as they always did. I loved coming here: I always did. I loved watching the skies with her: to be true I liked the skies here, more than in the city. You could see the stars better; and as Oma said, one should always keep the stars in one’s eyes. It’s important to keep the magic alive in your life.
“Come Lizzie, vat are you vaiting for?”
She may be blind but she sure wasn’t deaf or stupid. I stepped towards her and hugged her.
“Hey Oma. How are you?”
“Good as can be. And you?”
“Have you brought something to read? Don’t answer I know you have. What is it?”
I bit my lips. I didn’t know how she would feel about this tale. But it made me think of her and grandpa.
“Have you heard of the Tanabata, the Star festival?”
“No, it sounds… I don’t know Indian.”
“Well actually it’s Japanese.”
“I see. Read to me.”
And I read to my Oma, whose English remained broken despite her 50 years living in Southern UK, a story she’d never heard before. I’d never thought it would happen. But the story was familiar somehow. She’d been a young woman when my grandfather visited East Berlin. Theirs wasn’t a love that anyone looked kindly upon. Especially not her parents. For the entire three years Grandpa had been working in Berlin, there was a wall that separated them and only once or twice a year could they meet. The last time, she’d crossed back with him. And never went back. It was as if the stars had granted them a miracle that day: more likely a bribe to the guards at the wall, but neither of them ever spoke of that adventure.
Of course Orihime and Hikoboshi’s story spoke to her; she’d loved my grandfather so deeply she’d given up on a chance to ever see her family again. It would have been dangerous to let them know where she’d gone. It must have been such a horrible choice: no wonder she didn’t speak about it. It took all my strength not to cry as I finished the story. Oma had tears in her eyes.
“That is a sad story. But it is good. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome Oma.”
We ‘watched’ the stars together for a while. Well I watched and she felt them. Even though she could no longer see, she knew where every single one of them hung in the sky. She corrected me when I didn’t place Vega correctly. We laughed as we often did, until I stood to go to bed. I would sleep here and take the care the next day.
“You know Lizzie… I feel like Orihime again and Death is wider than the Milky Way. I’ll be waiting for the magpies…”
I understood, I did. But I still cried myself to sleep. It would be a dark day when Oma passed away: and the stars wouldn’t shine as brightly for me as they did when I was with her.
This is one is the result of multiple prompts
– the Daily post writing prompt Darkness
– Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver prompt Bedtime stories for grandparents
– Flash Fiction Month July 7th theme Tanabata
image is Starry Skies by Quinni