#9. An AFTERWORD. Get it? Like afterward, but with the “a” changed to an “o”?
One time Dad and I stand next to this huge steam engine that pulls the commuter train between our town and the next one. I see the engineer and another guy shovel coal into a furnace. Dad says, The coal heats the water, and the steam from the water moves the train.
I hear all this huffing and puffing, like the engine is revving itself up for pulling all the cars.
Dad looks down at me and says, It’s called “gathering steam,” Isabel.
I think of Dad and the engine yesterday morning when Mimi comes up to see if I’m okay.
She sits on the edge of my bed and tells me that since Mom and Dad died it’s been hard for her to get up too. I feel bad ’cause I haven’t been thinking about how hard it must be for them.
It’s okay for you to feel the way you do, Mimi says. It’s because we’re sad. This is what it means to grieve.
I’m about to ask her whether we’ll ever STOP grieving, but don’t think I want to hear the answer. If we cease grieving does that mean we lose Mom and Dad?
Mimi gets up to go back downstairs, but turns back and says, Take your time, Isabel. You’re gathering steam.
If words can warm, then Mimi’s heat my heart.