My grandmother's laughter is like moonbeams in water, like pastry dough rising and filling the house with its aroma. "Where I come from," she used to say to us while she reclined in her decrepit yellow rocking chair, "the sky is a giant mirror.”
We would be sitting cross-legged amphitheater-style around her chair or maybe sprawled out on the carpet before the fireplace. "Like the way our sky reflects the ocean?" we'd ask. She only laughed and repeated her first statement without clarification.
"Where I come from, the ground is made of polished, white marble with veins of gold running through it. And the whole world is a forest. The trees even have windows.”
As extremely young children, we probably believed her, but time passes and our imaginations fade.
"It was through one of those windows that I climbed and found myself here. I tried going back through a window in one of your funny-looking houses, but it didn't work. I'm stuck here. I suppose it's not so bad, though. After all, I have you." She would lean down, joints creaking, to take our faces between her warm, leathery hands, and smile.
"But where did you live? What did you eat?" we would ask. Entranced or dubious, I don't know.
"We lived in the branches of the tallest tree with the strongest branches and the bluest leaves." The leaves were blue, of course. "And we drank sunlight that fell through cracks in the mirror. And if we were clever enough, we could find ways to chip off pieces of the marble ground and eat it." The ground tasted like chocolate, of course.
My grandmother’s stories are like spun sugar turned gold in the autumn light, like originality breathed into the otherwise ordinary world. She used to regale us with tales that I found less and less true. The last story she ever told us was the one I remember hearing most in early childhood, the one about where she came from. Now I understand where she was coming from.
“Where I come from,” I will say to my grandchildren as I watch their eager faces surrounding me and ease myself into my own decrepit rocking chair, “the sky is a giant mirror."