The old man slammed the door back, shook his grandson, and blurted out in a rush, "Get up Jerry, you're burning daylight!"
"Daylight? It's as dark as midnight, Grandpa!"
"Hurry, get dressed, we haven't got long. The snow outside is clover bud so dress warm."
"You mean, we are heading out this morning?"
"Maybe. The weather's looking about to glow as musky moss rose. Be a fleeting angel, or we'll miss it. Here, wear your long johns and double socks."
Grunting and struggling into clothes, still half asleep, Jerry finally reaches down, grabs the zipper on his boots, pulls them up, and buckles the strap across the top. "Ok, I'm ready."
"Good. No time for breakfast. Let's get."
The sky to the west and overhead is mired in darkness; but to the east, light is gleaming out like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal. Dark as night, to a gray, to the palest of pink, and finally, there in the center, a pinprick of a diamond flash. It is what the two huddling figures have come to see.
Through the kitchen, the past smells of baking cookies mixed with the aroma of fresh brewing coffee. Out the back door, they rush into a crisp New England morning. Down the flagstone path with the topsy-turvy stone in the middle, and out the gate, scuttling into a fresh field of snow, so cold and so dry every step squeaks as they step. A slight nor-easterly breeze brings the tingle of salt, ocean, and distant fishing boats.
Almost running they hasten their steps, Jerry keeping close to his grandfather, helping the old man where he was unsteady, running ahead when the way was clear, but never more than a few feet ahead.
"Today Grandpa? You sure?", Jerry says, blowing steam into the air so cold he can feel the inside of his nose crinkle and crackle.
Panting, breathing like the bellows of the frogs, Grandpa says, "Maybe. Never can tell. Lots of things are needed to make it happen. Doesn't work sometimes on even the best days." He nods towards the point. "Over there. Your grandma and I saw it the first time. Been back umpteenth times and only seen it a few, and all those with her."
Both, the elder aided by the younger, dash to the point of land and stare to the east.
"Don't blink Jerry. Don't blink."
"I know, I know", says the impatience of youth. "You have got to use your peripheral vision."
"That's right, use your peripheral vision," the old man snarls and finally stops on the pinnacle of the point gazing to the east. Jerry idles up next to him, and the old man places his hand on the boy's shoulder. Feeling the warmth of his grandson, even through all the winter clothing, he hugs Jerry close, feeling the quivering of a grandson about to share what his grandfather has yearned to see for so long. Maybe today, maybe…
Softly, so softly Grandpa says, "Wait for it ... Wait for it ..."
The sky to the west and overhead is mired in darkness; but to the east, light is gleaming out like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal. No, no, do not look at it. Look slightly to the side, or slightly up, or slightly down, and there hovering on the absolute edge, is the barest visible line of a brightening eastern horizon. Slowly that curve brightens and becomes a line. Dark as night, to a gray, to the palest of pink, and finally, there in the center, a pinprick of a diamond flash. It is what the two huddling figures have come to see.
"Wow," Jerry says, awestruck as a flash of green erupts from the emerging sun and then is gone, faster than a flash. "Wow."
John, feeling the bewilderment of his grandson, finally beholds what he has not seen, finally feels what he has not felt in a hundred trips to this point.
Fairy tales do come true, for with the true love of his grandson's touch, the magic he has sought for so long is before him. His Helen, illuminated in that brief flash of green, stands before him, as he had forgotten her, and nippily vanishes in that green glow. The memory, refreshed by that brief flash of green, lingers, and he feels the marvel he and Helen felt every time they saw the flash. The wonderment he had forgotten until Jerry's eager anticipation awakened that long-forgotten feeling.
"Holy shh-cow, Grandpa, do it again."
"I wish I could, grandson, I wish I could... Maybe another morning, on another day, when the conditions are just right, we'll see green again."
Another few moments, and slowly the two turned and walked back down the point. Back onto the snow squeaking with cold, and back to the warmth of home.
Hasan Maruf teaches English in DPS STS School, Dhaka. What influences him to lift the pen is not only his adoration for creative writing, but a need to seek spiritual salvation.