As a StoryTerrace writer, Ann interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below
I sit on the bed, carefully folding small clothes and putting them in a bag to be donated. A bright red t-shirt with a Christmas tree in the center and a pair of jeans with elephants at the bottom, once begged for and beloved, are now outgrown.
Like the fabric passing through my hands, the trees outside are changing colors again, marking time. The woods and cabin we call home in the summer are the same and yet every year changed. Young trees encroach on the field and the blueberry bush ages. A raven circles over the lake.
When we arrived here, Frances squealed that she could reach the glasses without balancing on her toes. Grace turned up her nose at drawings she’d pinned to her walls last summer, and asked if Frances wanted them. Frances did. She still idolizes Grace, and I wonder if that too will end.
Sometimes we make it to Vermont for the fireworks, but this year Grace, who is almost fourteen, wanted to stay longer in New York City to see them with her cousin. We all watched from the roof of my Dad’s apartment building as sprays of colored light fell through the air and it drizzled rain.
I stood hugging Frances’ warm body, and time stood still for a moment as I was transported back forty years to a blanket on the grass with my mother holding me close. The spectacle of fire overhead inspired snuggling, holding hands, and whispering in one another’s ears.
I glanced at Grace, laughing and joking with her cousin. She is taller than I am now, slipping into the body she will inhabit for decades, becoming that time honored symbol of aesthetic pleasure: a beautiful woman. With her subdued smile that explodes into exuberance when she’s not careful and the cascade of blond hair she’s given up trying to tame, she takes my breath away. She rode the subway without me for the first time and explored the city all day. When she returned late to dinner with my parents that night, having found her way back alone, she whispered to me at the table, hands carefully folded on her lap: “I had no idea how good it would feel to be free.”