Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: JOY (12/07/17)
TITLE: If Joy Could Sing
By Ann Cheng
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
Joy is the last thing on my mind as I tuck my feet up on a cold plastic chair in the hospital waiting room. Across the hall, my grandmother is getting a feeding tube poked through her nostril down to her stomach. All because she doesn’t remember how to swallow anymore. She has almost choked to death on her food.
Grandma, or Wai-Puo as I call her in Mandarin, was always my favourite grandmother. One reason I liked her was that she was always smiling. If she wasn’t smiling, she was laughing, and her laughter bubbled over so that there was enough to go around.
What I loved best about Wai-Puo was her singing voice. When we were together, she would teach me Chinese folk songs that she had learned as a child. Wai-Puo’s soprano caressed the silence with its delicate fingers and guided my own high-pitched chirp. Together we wove a tapestry of treble notes that flew into my delighted ears.
Then, when I was seven, Wai-Puo was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. “It’s when you lose your memory, little by little, and in the end, you hardly know anything at all,” my mother explained, with a quiver in her lips.
“Will Grandma not know me?” I cried.
“Not yet for a very long time. And, Evey, she’ll always know you in her heart. Even if she doesn’t look like she knows you, she will – and she’ll always love you.”
The losses were gradual but steady. Gaining ground in Wai-Puo’s brain, Alzheimer’s robbed her of her memories, of her independence, of her dignity. But long after Wai-Puo had stopped speaking, she could still sing. I could imagine pathways in her mind illuminating hymns and ditties alike as she graced us, in her clear soprano, with flawless renditions of the old songs. Even as she coped with the frustration of not remembering things, Wai-Puo’s voice radiated joy.
I stop my stroll down memory lane as Mom comes out of Wai-Puo’s hospital room. “Evey, you can go in to see Wai-Puo if you like,” she says.
I walk in. My grandmother rarely smiles now, but she draws me in with her gaze. I take her hand, and she closes her fingers around mine with surprising strength.
“Wai-Puo,” I whisper. And, without thinking, I start to sing.
I run through the folk songs of my grandmother’s childhood days. I murmur the hymns she taught me. As I launch into “Rejoice in the Lord Always,” my voice totters. How can I rejoice now?
Then I hear Wai-Puo sing.
At first, it’s a deep purring sound at the back of her throat. Then it becomes a fragile hum. And as I hit the “joy” of the word “rejoice,” out of Wai-Puo’s mouth sails a clear, wordless note that joins mine effortlessly.
I look at Wai-Puo, and the corners of her mouth stretch out into a full-toothed grin. Her eyes crinkle into half-moons and a spiderweb of laugh lines spreads across her face.
Back in the waiting room, I pick up my assignment again. The Times New Roman instructions sit on the paper and watch me expectantly. Their gaze reminds me of my grandmother’s half-moon eyes under all the tubes in the hospital room, and I pick up a pencil.
If Joy Could Sing
It would sing in trills, in trebles
That leaped and soared ‘til your heart flew up
And danced with them.
Tremolos that showered your ears
With fountains of music.
Or maybe it would be a deep voice,
Mellow and resonant in tone
Branching out from your heart
And flooding your entire being
Like a prayer, like the lowest chord in the world
That started soft, and grew and grew and grew.
It would sing like birds high in the heavens,
Swooping and calling without a worry in the world.
Singing ballads, bubbling over with adventures to tell
Singing chorales, each note as fine and rich as a jewel.
It would sing if your body was holding something
Too wonderful to keep inside,
If you felt you could run and run
And never stop.
I think it could sing
On the highest of the mountains
Or in the darkest of valleys
If only you would let it open its mouth
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.