Friday, May 11, 2012


I feel incredibly lucky to have known my grandmother, my mother's mother. Transliterated, her name was Elizaveta. Most people called her Leeza. My father dubbed her the electro-broom, because she was everywhere, anything for anyone (except herself), and always without stopping. The best apple cakes and lemon cakes, perpetually concerned that I wasn't eating enough and that my jacket was unzipped. She would pick me up from school, tell jokes, and occasionally, ask me to count the wrinkles on her face. Lacking the tact of an adult, I would say, "Grandma, there are too many to count." But each line was a hard won victory in a difficult and big-hearted life, so she would smile, somewhat mischievously, and we'd continue walking.

She died when I was sixteen but the love continues to grow. I've thought, for years now, that if I ever have a child, it would have to be a daughter, so that I can name her after my grandmother. Elizaveta, or Za for [very] short. If I can pretend for a second that time does not exist, the future has already happened and the past is an evolving part of forever. Maybe my grandmother and Za are both close, sending butterflies and secret hellos.

I stumbled upon this singer, Elizaveta, tonight. I listened to her for about an hour, entranced, and I swear, the flowers on my windowsill opened. Hello, dahlias. Hello, you beautiful, hidden souls.