“Good morning Kyra,” said Papa.

“Good morning Papa,” yawned Kyra, still rubbing the sleep from her eyes. No matter how early she rose, Papa always seemed to be up and he always looked perfectly manicured. His white tunics were nothing but pristine, each fold easy and crisp, the cut looking tailor made.

“Have a seat and join me.” With a grace that even a child could notice, Papa lifted his off-white cup of snizzle to his tanned lips, took a sip, and as effortlessly allowed the cup to float back to the table. A cool morning breeze rolled in from the ocean, palm trees bowing as servants in the wind, their broad leaves whispering approval. The ocean looked warm, inviting. The waves were gentle but not calm and the hue, forever changing, shown with a turquoise sheen rarely seen with such clear brilliance. Colors blue and green shifted in the sun as a kaleidoscope, patterns morphing to the limit of the imagination with shapes and values light and dark, rich and light, inviting and forbidden. Golden sand basked in sun and water, silent in private joy, as comfortable in solitude as a welcome mat waiting patiently for the patter of guests seeking solace and renewal. “Close your eyes and take a breath.”

Kyra pulled up a chair and sat at the table, her feet not quite reaching the aged wooded deck. Closing her eyes she took a deep practiced breath, just as Papa had taught. Silently, she breathed in to a count of four, her focus on the flow of warm ocean air on the tip of her nose. Holding the breath for a second count of four, almost swirling the warmth in her chest, she gently released the exchange back into the breeze with a third count of four.

“Give me your hand and we’ll do this together,” said Papa. Without opening her eyes, Kyra held out her small white hand and into the leathery mitt of Papa’s palm, like a baseball in a mitt, her hand disappeared in his. Together, in silence, the two breathed in the morning, heart-rates slowing, seeking and finding harmony as large drum to small drum might. His hand felt large and warm and somehow tender in strength. His breath, its rhythm and pace, felt as a rope, a belay, holding her in a safe place, a place where a touch said more than words, where a breath brought peace and a heartbeat conveyed love. Their breathing synchronized; and slowly their hearts. From a window Grand looked out and smiled. The love Zeke showed to Kyra, so consistent day in and day out, so kind and gentle and loving, as one might show a delicate flower that needed just the right amount of sun and water to flourish, that love she thought, was Zeke. He didn’t try. He didn’t plan. He simply was. Where love began and Zeke stopped was as difficult to separate as the point where one body of water became another. The two were simply one and the same. And so Grandma Kyra stood and watched and smiled through eyes that had never lost their wonder. She would leave Hyneria before him but not without him.

“Kyra, I love you,” said Papa.

“I love you too Papa.”

“Do you know where we are?” he asked, his eyes, like hers, still closed, his tone as soothing as warm honey, the grip on her hand neither too tight nor too loose.

Kyra smiled with lips closed. “Here. We are here Papa.”

“And what time is it my dear child?”

“Kyra smiled again. “Now. It is now Papa.”

“And when we sit here tomorrow, and look over the glorious ocean, tell me–“

Kyra cut him off. “Here and Now. Our appointment with life Papa.”

Papa smiled and held her hand a little tighter as if to emphasize his approval. “And when we love someone?”

“Oh Papa, you know the only time you can love someone is Now and the only place is Here.”

“Open your eyes Kyra and look at me. I want you to listen to me very closely.” Papa took her other hand in his and pulled his chair up to hers. Their knees were touching. “You are a very special child and I love you very, very much.”

Kyra smiled, pulled her hands from Papa’s and launched herself into his arms, her whole body fitting in his chest as arms and legs wrapped around him. “Papa, I love you too.”

Papa stood and twirled her around as if the two were dancing center stage with the sun and the breeze looking on at love manifesting itself in the natural order, the way it should be. Grand had seen this scene played out a hundred times and for the hundredth time she raised her right arm and wiped her eyes with her sleeve.

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