Lili

It is Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 1995. I'm taking a break from the cooking to go outside and sit on the front stoop. It's a glorious day: Warm, late afternoon sun basks the house in light. My youngest daughter Lili is two and a half. She suddenly crashes out the door with her little chair and sets it just so, right next to me. She sits down, faces the sun and closes her eyes. The sun turns her hair golden. She is beautiful.

“I love you, Lili.”

    “Yes, I know.”

“I am so thankful you are in my life.”

    “I know.”

    She pauses, still facing the sun: “You’d be very sad if I died.”

“Oh my gosh, Lili, I’d be heartbroken.”

    “I know.”

 turn back to the sun and close my eyes.

    “You’d miss me if I'd never been born.”

“I would. Indeed. … But I wouldn’t know.”

    “Oh yes you would. … I'd be a tiny speck of dust and I would float down from the sky and land on your arm and I would burrow in and swim up to your ear and I would yell: “MY NAME IS LILLIAN” and you would hear me. … And you would know.”

I look at her. She hasn't moved, her eyes are still closed facing the sun full on. She is smiling.

Photo by Viriginia Roberts | Banjo by Anna Roberts-Gevalt