The story I heard was of my uncle’s wedding day. My mother, then a little girl, was excited to be going, riding the train to the nearby town, wearing her white dress. When she dropped a heavy pail of water on her foot, and cried in pain, my grandfather came to help her. Her foot was red and swollen, threatening to ruin her day. She was too slow to walk, so Grandfather put her on his bicycle handlebars and rode to the train station, just in time. I was not there, of course, but the stories my mother and others tell of Grandfather have a mythical feeling to them. His otherness in the world comes through in so many ways — his dark Indian skin in a light brown country, his kindness to fellow outsiders, his small but significant heroics. I did not know him long enough or well enough to say I loved my grandfather. But I can say I love who he has become to me and my family.

At the train station, it was just another morning:

the sunlight cut through the cool air,

swirling into a glowing haze.

A train was preparing to depart –

inside, people were finding seats and

stowing bags.  A few stragglers were

hurrying to board.  Then, out of

a warm beam of sunlight, a man

appeared, running the length

of the platform.  He was darker than

most others, and he wore a white

suit that glowed in the light.  In

his arms, he carried a little girl,

also dressed in white.  As the train

began to move – the sound of metal

on metal tracks, the smell of oil –

the man ran faster, so that he

was a blur of brilliant white,

and reached one hand for the

handle on the side of an open door.

He jumped on board, one foot, one hand,

and “thump!” both feet

landed inside the train car.

The passengers looked up, unable

to keep from noticing the glowing

man and the girl who had arrived.

Advertisements