“But it’s Monday,” Maga said in lieu of a hello.

“I know, but I have a guest coming over tomorrow and I didn’t want to miss out on talking with you.”

“How do you know this friend? College?”

“She went to college with my high school friend and then we were roommates my first year up here.”

“Did she work at the same job as you?”

“Nope. We have a mutual friend and the three of us were roommates my first year in Boston.”


“How has your week been going?” I asked.

“I’m lonely. My family lives so far away.”

“I understand that! My family is too far, too.”

“I have [Aunt J] and I see her every other day. Maybe every day, but everyone else is too far. My boys live in TX and CA, you know.”

“I know. But they could travel more to see you. Like how my mom does.”

“Oh, yes, your mom is so good at that. We had such a lovely visit when she was here. She and your dad took me for a drive to check out all the Christmas lights.”

“I love Christmas lights! That must have been so beautiful.”

“It was.”

“What’s your favorite Christmas tradition?”

“The Christmas hymns, songs. When I had access to a piano, I played them.”

The piano in her house was a focal point because (a) it was beside a floor to ceiling window and (b) had a family photo from 1983 that has NOT weathered well. Too much sunlight has left us all with yellow rings around our eyes. We affectionately refer to it as the zombie family portrait. My uncles would often pound out a song or two, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen Maga play. The image of her seated there playing my favorite music (yes, I’m a Christmas carol lover) (hi) caught my breath.

“Are you still there?” Maga asked.


“I wasn’t sure with the silence.”

“I’m here. I’m here.”

“When do you think you’ll be here next.”

(Sly devil, Maga.) “For your birthday, definitely.”

“You will?! How wonderful.”

“I know. I’m excited. It’s so lovely there in March.”

“Who else will be coming?”

“I imagine my mom will. It’ll be a mother mother daughter daughter trip.”

I hope Maga’s soft chuckle blew away some of the loneliness surrounding her tonight.

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