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  • I'm sitting in lecture as I write this, overcome by the thought of who and what brought me here today. My mind wanders off as the professor explains Shakespeare and I'm brought again to this letter that I have wanted to write for a while.

    I'll start with the time when I was young and naive, a small boy on an orange disk sled on a calm winter night, pulled down and spun around on the city streets by a woman with a dark coat. I had been sad all day, wanting to go down the steep hill across the bridge and being unable to go there. You pulled me along and took me on an adventure under the street lamps, spinning a journey for me in the night of a long work day for you. You made me hot chocolate when we returned home; you were tired but stayed awake for me.

    Now I'm in elementary school with a Winnie the Pooh backpack and the red book bag full of stories that you read with me the night before. The rain falls heavy as we wait across the street for the bus; you are holding an umbrella over my head and getting wet. You go to work soaking wet as I am perfectly dry and content, and you do not complain at all. Thirty five years brought you here and your eyes shine outward and rest wearily on the inside.

    I never told you of the time that I looked through your box of photographs; a menagerie of small, rounded square shots of busy family. I can't help but wonder what your thoughts were at the time, what motivated you, where you thought you would be ten, twenty, thirty years later.

    I learn of death as my Oma dies, and I'm lost. I question where she is now and why she is there and look for the meaning of it all as you face the death of your mother. The difficulty that you deal with is unknown to me, for I am a boy that lost his grandmother and you are a daughter that lost her mother.

    Perhaps most important are all the times that you lead me, subtly, down the path that brought me here. The lessons you taught me and the stories you shared are forever ingrained in my memory, as if I had lived them through looking into your eyes and seeing the world during the stormy nights that shook our entire apartment. I think of the dog we took home on a whim and the times you criticized me for giving up or giving in.

    I picture you at our house, sitting and wondering where I am and what I am doing, out of the nest but keeping it in sight. You never did fit into the typical metaphors; you are flying with me for the first leg of the journey.
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