Annabel Begins

Christmas Eve, December 24, 1930
Park Ridge, Illinois


When the year turns, there are bells on the wind. All the old years fall on the ground in lights. When you walk across those lights, it sounds like walking on all the piled-up leaves of giant trees. But up high the bells are ringing for everyone alive. There are silver and gold and glass bells you can see through, and sleigh bells a hundred years old. My grandmother said there was a whisper for each one dead that year, and a feather drifting for each one waiting to be born.

My mother says that’s just a story, but I always do hear the bells, even in my sleep, and everything in front of me is all white and open like a field. Then I start dreaming.

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