The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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Before Michele started telling me a memory she told me that her mom recently passed and that this story was to honor her memory.  She laughed and smiled a lot while she was telling me about their house and started her story with “we lived in an interesting, old house in Pittsburg.”  She told me that her mom started getting extremely frustrated as Christmas approached because she couldn’t find a way to make the house look ready for the holiday.  Michele wanted to help her mom and make her happy and was completely surprised when she came down one morning and saw the magic her mom had created.  As she remembered that day, her smile got wider and it became obvious how fond she was of that memory.

We lived in such an interesting old house in Pittsburg.  There were stairs everywhere in that house—stairs that went up and down and led here and there and ones that led absolutely nowhere.  And the uniqueness of the house didn’t even end with the stairs.  The doors were also one-of-a-kind.  There was one door in the house that led into a wall.  I opened it when we first moved in, expecting it to lead down into the basement or something, and was met by a solid wall.

My mom loved the house though…occasionally.  It made her extremely upset during Christmas time.  As the holiday drew nearer, her face would always be set into a look of determined contemplation.  She studied the house more during December than I had ever seen her study it before.  She looked at the stairs and doors and benches and heavy wooden beams on the ceiling as if she was trying to solve an unsolvable mystery.

“How am I going to decorate this old house?” she would constantly ask herself.  And I asked myself the same question but I couldn’t find an answer.  I wanted to turn those pursed lips into a smile but even my six-year-old, imaginative mind couldn’t come up with a solution to decorating the old house for Christmas.

I woke up to a cold December morning and started getting ready for school with the same question revolving around my thoughts.  I pulled on my skirt, navy blue blouse and thick sweater and pulled my short, wavy hair back with my favorite barrette before making my way down the stairs and into the living room.

“How is she going to decorate—“I started to ask myself but stopped short when I saw the magic in front of me.  There were hundreds of thousands of paper snowflakes hanging from the dark beams.  It felt like magic.  I stood there, wide eyed, staring at the fairyland that was our interesting, old house.

“Wow,” I breathed as I looked up at the snowflakes and twirled round and round in our magical home.    

Snowflakes

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December
Pittsburg

Before Michele started telling me a memory she told me that her mom recently passed and that this story was to honor her memory. She laughed and smiled a lot while she was telling me about their house and started her story with “we lived in an interesting, old house in Pittsburg.” She told me that her mom started getting extremely frustrated as Christmas approached because she couldn’t find a way to make the house look ready for the holiday. Michele wanted to help her mom and make her happy and was completely surprised when she came down one morning and saw the magic her mom had created. As she remembered that day, her smile got wider and it became obvious how fond she was of that memory.

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Recorded by Derya Yilmaz on May 2, 2014
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