The sound of the fans whirring from May through September, cooling white noise soundtrack in library, bedroom, bathroom and living room, each with its own hum. Tonight in my empty bed where there will be no snoring to prevent me from drifting off, the fan will spin in front of a window closed against a string of burglaries and an assault. My husband is tucked away in the hills, retreating from the usual grind to discuss it from afar. The dog who’s afraid of her shadow will stay by my side, ever alert to odd noises, poor thing, poor dear, my early fear indicator.
Comforting sounds of childhood: my father stirring and stirring his pre-dawn coffee, thinking and thinking while the spoon tinged on the sides of his mug, the refrigerator clicking on and off, peepers, crickets and distant yapping foxes, an invisible pack raising the hair on my arms.
The time I visited Gram in her new apartment. She kissed me goodnight, took out her hearing aids and lay down to say her prayers, so much louder than she knew, and I heard her praying for me. Lying there in conversation with her Lord, I heard how she loved me, simply and true. Embarrassed to hear her private words, I turned on the television to watch David Letterman and his stupid pet tricks.
Now when I think of my Gram, I zoom in close, so close I can hear her breath. In my mind, I stroke the hair off her warm, damp forehead and whisper all of my love into her deaf, sleeping ears. It is my prayer, my only prayer for her. Hear this. Hear this.