Pennies from Heaven

January 6, 2008
By Brittany Adlam, Johnstown, OH

After the funeral I soaked in the tub and my salty tears mixed with the scalding hot water. My skin burned but it still didn’t take away from the pain in my heart. So this is what its like to mourn. That night in my dreams the world was quiet. The snow lay peacefully on the ground and it crunched beneath my bare feet as I made my way towards my dreams backyard. In the center was a large willow tree with a single broken door on its trunk. I opened it and stepped inside. A jazz club? Inside people were slow dancing to “Pennies for heaven” and the longer I stayed the more I realized it was the only song they ever played. That’s when I saw her. She wore a tight blue dress and her hair was in short pencil curls. She had to be in her early twenties, the same age as me. She had on dark blue pumps and worked them like a runway model with confidence and purpose.

“Hey there sweetheart. How’s life?”

I shrugged with a smile.

“That good huh?”

“My grandma died.”

“Oh darlin’ I’m sorry to hear that. But don’t let it get you down. Think of “Pennies From Heaven” and kiss the sky when your tears fall.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be happy again.”

The woman shimmied and danced around the table before finally singing a line from the song, “Don’t you know each cloud contains pennies from heaven…”

I smiled and watched her dance. Her face was radiant and beautiful. The more she turned in the light the more I recognized her. “Grandma Lynette?”

She stopped, “Grandma? I suppose I might have been once. I don’t remember much darlin,” she said lighting a cigar. “My friends call me Nettie.”

“Still smoking cigars I see.” I laughed and she rubbed my face.

“Well if I am a grandmother I’m lucky to have had such a beautiful granddaughter like you baby.”

“Nettie why did you leave me?” I asked.

She frowned and stared into my eyes,” I didn’t leave you sweetheart. I’m with you always. When you get sad look at the sky and think of “Pennies from Heaven,” and baby let the snow fall in your hair.”

When morning came and I opened my eyes tears fell. I slid on my robe and went to the real worlds backyard and stared at my grandmas willow tree. The stones were cold beneath my feet but I didn’t care. I wrapped my body around the tree and smiled as the snow fell in my hair.

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