We arrive early; mornings are her best time. So we are here at eight with muffins and a carafe of coffee. I greet her granddaughter. We are here to pack for the move to the assisted living facility. 'Toss', 'Donate', 'Give to family' and 'Take' are on sticky notes everywhere. My job is to box the items according to the labels. This spring morning my friend's grandmother is neatly dressed as if for an outing in brisk weather. Silver hair in a chignon, a scarf tied fashionably at her neck. "There won't be room for much," she reminds us.
In the last room I find an ornate vase. It is nearly full of rose petals, a potpourri of mauves and yellows. As I turn it over they swirl like butterflies above a trash bin. "What are you doing?" she cries. I look up. "My anniversary roses!" I see the label 'Keep' on the vase, but I misunderstood the vase for the flowers. Then she takes my hand, her eyes forgiving. "Sixty years. How could you know?"
A lifetime in a porcelain jar.
the shattered wedding glass