The longer Gertie watches her mother, the more confused she is. Gertie is 6 and never knew that her mom has tears.
“Why are you crying? Gertie asks.
“Your grandmother died today,” her mom answers.
Gertie closes her eyes. Nanny is right there beside them. When she opens her eyes again, a soft yellow light grows and surrounds her mom.
“Don’t worry,” Gertie soothes. “Nanny is fine. She’s right here.”
Shockingly, her mother cries even harder.
As the yellow light dims, Gertie decides to keep her observations to herself.
At 10 years old, Gertie creates an altar in the corner of her blue-wallpapered bedroom. She worships the sound of silence. Humming a tune from nowhere, Gertie sits cross legged and closes her eyes for long times.
Two years later, Gertie stands in front of her bedroom window that overlooks a postage stamp front lawn. A maple tree shades new-green grass that speaks of a sweet June day. When Gertie’s feet float off her bedroom floor, the grass turns a deep purple. The leaves of the maple joyously change into a brilliant blue; the sky dazzles with a million diamonds.
She knows better than to tell anyone, so decides it’s “just her imagination.”
For the next 70 years Gertie continues to look out her windows, but her vision is clouded with the inconsequential longings of an adolescent, and then the flirtings of a teenager. She becomes an academic, and then a wife, a mother, a cog in the wheel of life.
As Gertie’s vision becomes worldly, her spirit diminishes, and the years roll by.
Gertie’s 6-year-old great grandson, Charlie, approaches her this morning where she’s seated in the “social room.” The powers-that-be call it the Memory Care Unit. Gertie believes they try to “lock down” her memories, but whispers to herself – good luck to that.
The room is full of the noises of the half-gone: groans, grunts, gruesome laughs. Her visitors, including her grandson, Charlie’s dad, think she doesn’t know their name for this place: The Halfway House to Heaven or Hell.
“Great Gram, why do you keep looking over my shoulder?” Charlie asks.
Charlie is still young enough, Gertie decides. Charlie will understand. “See that window?” she answers, pointing to the bright light shining through the dirty glass.
He nods, walking closer to the window, and then stands stock still. “Ohhhhhhhhh!” he exclaims, “where does this come from Great Gram?”
Gertie beams in delight. Charlie has the sight now. If only he can hold onto it longer than she did.
Suddenly, Gertie feels a spark as she inhales. With her last exhale she finally understands:
The Sight is always within us.
Charlie’s dad runs toward Great Gram, panic in his eyes. “She’s gone!” he shouts out to no one in particular, tears in his eyes.
“Oh no, Dad. She’s right here!” Charlie exclaims. “Can’t you see the light?”