A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean
November 29, 2011
The view is wondrous from here, thirty thousand feet above the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere between London and New York. As I lay my head back and gaze out at the majesty of sunshine over fluffy white vapors, I take time to ponder all that I’ve learned over the past week and where I will go from here.
In two hours, this plane will touch down in New York, and I will make my way through customs. Then I’ll meet my father, and he’ll take me to my grandmother’s farmhouse in Connecticut, where I’ll deliver information that may upset the balance of an old woman’s life.
My name is Gillian Gibbons, and my grandmother just celebrated her ninety-sixth birthday. Her mind is quick and sharp, but her body has grown frail lately. She’s thin, with bony, blue-veined hands, and she moves carefully when she walks, as if she expects the ground to shift under her feet.
When I think of her that way, it’s almost impossible to imagine how tough she once was, in her younger days, long before I was born. Until this week, I hadn’t known what she’d been through during the war, or what she’d sacrificed. Now I understand how brave she was, how full of life and energy.
Yet, I feel betrayed because of what she’d kept hidden from us all our lives. I’m still not over the shock of it, and neither is my father. But we must forgive her—of course we must—now that we know the full story.
And I must forgive myself, too, for my own mistakes. If my grandmother was able to put the broken pieces of her life back together again, then surely I can do the same.
Lowering the window shade to block out the blinding rays of the sun as it bathes the clouds in light, I close my eyes, hoping to get some much-needed sleep before the captain begins the descent.