Dogwoods on Granby
"Noni died at 11:30 this morning. Sorry I tried to call you and Alison."
I receive these small, black words in a text message from my dad just after I put the car in park in front of the Valley Grocery. I let out a deep sigh; Zeb, my thirteen year old, family friend who is helping me organize my yard sale, looks at me honestly, "Kat, I'm so sorry." I want to be angry. I want to laugh at God and tell him this isn't funny anymore. But Zeb and I were just sharing stories of how we both struggle with our anger. I told him I don't regret anything more than moments I have misplaced my anger and acted, without any thought. So instead, I let my sadness be, just sadness and we walk in to the time warped convenience store and I buy us both a ginger ale. After Ali and I drop Zeb off at home, I pull off the dirt road and ask her to sit with me on a crooked, wooden bridge. We watch the water wash over the colored rocks as Ali mentions her strong desire to one day, be a mother. I scooch closer to her before I tell her the news. I play 'Alberta' by Doc Watson on repeat while Ali hangs out the window and cries on the drive home thru Zionville. There is nothing more beautiful than the rolling green-blue mountains of western North Carolina. A stranger once asked me why I prefer the mountains to everywhere else. I responded, "they remind me how big life is. I write to try to reach them." I grow tired of the walls and doors at home. Ali and I make it to the campsite just as the last light leaves Linville's ridge. In the morning she wakes slowly; I tell her I have something to show her. We walk the narrow trail, over 3,000ft in the sky. She smells the dogwoods and says they remind her of Granby Street. We both scooch closer to Noni on the rock's ledge as we take in the big life in front of us. I hold my little sister. We both sit in the middle but, this time, at least we have each other.