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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

SOMETHING ELSE


Determined arms are extended. Delicate fingers, attached to face-up palms wiggle back and forth. “I want something else,” she says in the startlingly articulate voice of “the one to whom we will listen.”

I hover on her every word, trying unsuccessfully to hide my indulgent smile. I’m pretty sure she isn’t hungry. She has ingested a healthy meal and savored every bite. Graciously she declines offers for more rice, more chicken and more prunes, persisting, “I want something else.” I—who am new to this nightly game—have no idea what more she could desire, but mommy and daddy know.

Something else’ appears in the form of three Hershey’s kisses, ceremoniously unwrapped and lined up in front of her. She carefully eats each in turn then contentedly licks her no-longer-wiggling fingers until they bear no telltale stains from this delicious treat.

I am long past the age of two, at a time of life when if I wiggled my skinny fingers, attached to veined and work-worn hands, people would smile with pity not indulgence. Yet I identify with her request. I, too, want something else.

Life goes on. It is good; some of it quite fulfilling. But I understand as never before the exquisite longing for life’s desserts—those sweet treats of unquestioned love and quiet companionship. At the end of every day, I am happy and content, but like my granddaughter, “I want something else.”

Note to literal readers: Any references to chocolate are simply metaphor. Please do not bring me Hershey’s kisses. They aren’t my favorite sweet. And it is a literary shame I have to mention this.