Tissues From The Sky


Weston Benjamin Berlack 1914-1997

I was ten years old.  Laying on my stomach.  My chin resting on my hands.  On a soft, comfortable bed.  A bed so large I could swim from one side to the other.  There was an old, familiar scent in my nose.  Something like apple pie and old wood furniture.  Familiar knick-knacks surrounded me; old pewter figurines and a worn, red pin-cushion on the burnished bureau.  My mind was blessed with ease.  I was home.

I was watching an old t.v. show.  A comedy.  I was lost in that daze that kids fall into when watching a show they liked.  Between states, hearing and not hearing, seeing and not seeing, lazily and happily passing the day.

Then my bliss was shattered by the force of something hitting my head.  <<THWAP!>>  Out of my peripheral vision, I see a small yellow ball bounce off my head and careen towards the wall, its flight halted with a loud, wet-sucking thud.  And it sticks.  I look to the wall, and see five more yellow balls, in various stages of drying, testaments to the persistence of my tormentor.  Peals of laughter spring forth behind me, and footsteps pound the floor.  I smile as I hear both fade into the background.

“Grandma!”  I yell.  And she’s off in a flash, taking off from the kitchen, broom in hand, protecting her baby.  Each sweep of the broom is embellished with a syllable from her mouth: “DID-N’T-I-TELL-YOU-TO-LEAVE-THAT-BOY-A-LONE?”  Funny thing: the angrier she got, (“Lord, he’s worse than the baby!”), the louder he would laugh.  A howling, infectious laugh that would stay with me forever.

Now that he’s gone, I realize how much I miss those tissues bouncing off my head.  I realize that he threw those little yellow balls to tell me how much he enjoyed my company, how happy he was to have me there, to know me, to love me, to share laughter with me.

And now, no matter where I go, no matter what I do, I know you’re with me Grandpa, ‘cause I feel tissues from the sky, bouncing off my head.  I live my life with laughter fading in the background.

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