Goldi stepped into the old brick house and the floor creaked.
‘Is there someone there?” called out a crackly voice.
“Grandma! It’s me! cried Goldi.
Grandma holds Goldi’s face long enough to see her grand daughter’s bright twinkling eyes.
“There you are!” she says cheerily.
Goldi eyeballs the living room like a search light.
“Is he here?”
“Who?” wonders Grandma.
“Oh, he sleeps just about all day in there by the window. ” Grandma says pointing.
Goldi peers through a closed door and sighs.
Grandma begins rocking by the large window that displays the whole world and stares hard out into it.
“You know, I had a little kitty when I was young. His name was Stripey. ”
“Is he going to wake up?” Goldi asks with concern.
“I am still talking about Benny!” Goldi emphasizes.
“Oh, he sleeps just about all day in there by the window. ” Grandma says again pointing.
“You know I used to have a little Kitty when I was young,”
I sigh and hold onto all my wonders.
Why can’t she remember five minutes ago? How long until she can’t remember us? Did Stripey sleep all day by the window too?
After some silent rocks, Grandma stands up: “I’ll just check on Benny.”
Goldi jumps onto my lap and presses herself against my chest.
“I am afraid mom.”she cries softly.
I am torn between holding her tight and letting go.
Grandma appears holding Benny tightly in her arms.
“He’s not used to people. ”
Goldi’s quick heart beats make her chest pop in and out. Grandma caressed Benny with gentle strokes and “there, there” whispers.
“It’s getting serious,” I hear in a low toned whisper. At the kitchen table, Goldi’s dad has put his arm around Grandpa’s tired sigh.
As a forever silence stilled everything. I journeyed in my mind through all the twists and turns to this moment. Grandma’ s memory loss was now tied to that A- word. Goldi ‘s fear of cats was another reminder of another A- word. And then there is Benny . The cause of jitters for one autistic child, the source of comfort for one with Alzheimer’s, curled up, calm, and nearly asleep.
Goldi finally breathes easy. Easy enough to cause her hand to slowly reach towards Benny.
“Is he soft?” she asks Grandma
“Oh, very !” Grandma replies.
Goldi’s hand trembles inches away from Benny’s back. As soon as a few soft hairs touch her and Goldi jerks away.
Benny jumps from Grandma’s lap and races into the bedroom.
“Oh dear!” cries Grandma scurrying after him.
Goldi cries. “It’s just me!”
Then Grandma comes back carrying Benny.
“He’s just not used to people,” Grandma says, “There, there Benny, there there.”
Grandma’s heart beat makes her chest pop in and out. Benny is calmed by her stroking and soon Grandma rocks and sighs.
“Poor Benny, don’t be scared.” Goldi whispers.
The room’s stillness is filled with anxiousness that desperately needs a calm filled hope. If only Grandma could remember her story. If only Goldi could calmly be around a perfectly safe cat. If only there were a cure for Alzheimer’s and Autism.
Then in the stillness, it is Goldi that makes the first move. She reaches with an “I know what to do” reach. Then in her hand, she is holding a book about a Lion.
“Benny, this is about a cat like you only much bigger. ” Goldi tells him gently.
“One day, ” she begins to read ” A lion went to the library. ”
The pace of her reading is as smooth as Grandma’s caressing. Goldi pauses and looks up at Grandma. Benny does not stir.
“He walked right past the circal-” Goldi stops.
“Oh, that word is “Circulation.” Grandma says in a teacher confident voice.
Scared of a cat. Scared of the unknown. Scared of even the familiar. Goldi, Grandma, and Benny sat in a stillness that was more than just a calm. It seemed at that moment a perfect peace.
“The end” whispers Goldi closing the book.
Benny is sleeping pressed against Grandma. Grandma’s shoulder is pressed against Goldi’s. Goldi’s head lays on Grandma’s shoulder.
Then, Goldi reaches out to pet Benny just like Grandma.
“There There, Benny.” Goldi whispers.
Philipians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.