Zest Lit Issue 2, October 2013 - Page 106

For Lilabet | Catherine Alexander

On the morning of your birth, you weigh in at four pounds. Your name will be Lilabet, pronounced Littlebit.’ A month in the incubator raises you to five pounds, and you’re on your way home.

Only home isn’t so good. Cleveland winters are full of snow, wind and coal dust. Mom and Dad drink, and you’re in the way. The only soft touch comes from Grandpa.

The year before you were born, Grandpa bought a farm in Western Massachusetts. Beginning at age four, you will spend your next ten summers snug in the Berkshire Hills.

* * *

Now it’s time. Grandpa takes you by New York Central Railroad to Adams, Massachusetts. When you climb off the train at Adams, you two catch a ride with Cliff Orr, the nasty-mouthed mail carrier and sometimes taxi driver. Mr. Orr steers the wobbly station wagon along Route 9 until it stalls. He curses. You giggle. He continues on to Savoy, past the long bend in the road. Just as the road straightens, he turns right into the farm’s driveway, grass growing between the tire tracks. Along one side is a brick wall where garter snakes sun themselves and shed their skins. The station wagon slows around the garden and parks in front of the steps leading to the round porch. Grandpa walks up to unlock the door then brings your belongings through the porch into the living room. He walks Cliff out while you stand dwarfed under the huge wooden beams on the ceiling. When Grandpa returns, he shows you Grandmother’s bedroom downstairs, complete with a dressing table and large mirror. Just like the one she has in Cleveland. He sighs