Her eyes blinked open and she saw the brilliant white light bursting from behind the white curtains. She smiled every morning when she awoke, but today she smiled brighter. She didn’t remember why, but she knew today was going to be special. Mommy came in a while later, picked her up, squeezed her, and gave her the same big kiss she gave her everyone morning, except today’s kiss was a little bigger. “Do you remember what today is Gabby? We’re going to the beach, my little angel!” Gabriella was too little to know what a beach was, but she crackled with laughter overflowing with a joyful awareness of her mother’s love.
A three-hour car ride for an eighteen month old child feels like a week does for you and I. So, in Gabby’s mind, it was about a week after leaving her house in Newtown when she first felt the sand between her tiny toes. It was blindingly bright that day, and the light shone all around her. For their entire lives, adults chase that rapturous feeling of boundless excitement that Gabby felt at that beach.
By August the Cape Cod water was as warm as her night-time bath, but she could run and run and run in this warm bath tub. Daddy chased his little angel until she tired him out. Then grandpa tried to keep up. Grandpa remembered a day like this one when Gabby’s Mom was young, and he lost himself in this memory for a moment, and the glow of this memory lasted for a few moments more. Grandma was there too, and they all ran and played in the light, which not one cloud dared to interrupt.
Much much later, they all went for ice cream. Gabriella grew tired, but became still more aware of her parents’ love. She was their little angel. The sun fell towards the horizon like a halved blood orange. Gabby’s perfect day lived forever in that brilliant light.