The tabletop of the large rectangular coffee table was littered with cards. Go Fish dominated the first session. Concentration shifted the atmosphere from one of light-hearted companionship to earnest competition. Giggles were replaced with fidgeting and exasperation. “Let’s just play the game already, ” she exploded. Yet another delay intercepted her play as an adult conference carried on. Cute as a button and self-possessed beyond her life experience, she then resigned to wait it out.
Relaxed meanderings from the windows and glass doors to view each interesting passerby ceased. Curiosity for the televised cartoons diverted to more serious issues in hand. The face of Grace portrayed the intensity of her desire to play and to win. After all, Concentration was the name of the game. The school bell may have rung in the hour previously, but continuing education for the grown-ups rested upon small shoulders of a golden-haired toddler.
The game of Go Fish ended in a tie between the golden-haired girl and another and amused smiles and applause surrounded her in gentle camaraderie. The mission of Concentration ended with the Mistress of the House of Cards firmly enthroned. The grown-ups scratched their heads in surprise and wonder. The grown-ups hung their heads in ancient shame and collective dismay.
She bid me farewell in a prolonged vice-like grip of her arms around my neck. She whispered, “I love you” in response to mine. Her diminutive handprints enhanced with buttered pop-corn and soda still hold their place on my windows and black table.