She sits in the garden beside the stone wall. In the waning,
summer light, the stones turn colors — muted yellow
becomes brick red which slowly transforms into the palest of
pinks. As twilight fills the sky, she re-arranges the balls
of yarn that are stuffed into the straw basket on her lap.
All afternoon she has been knitting a blue and white blanket
for her new grandson. She stands now and inhales the scent of
freshly cut grass rising from her lawn. She notices that some
of her geraniums are withering now. Bending down, she pulls
off the dying petals and in a sudden barrage of images, her
dream from the night before descends upon her.
There were two children standing outside the house on
Guilder's Circle. The house looks the same in the dream as it
had all those years before when they had lived there, but it
is surrounded by a surreal mist. The children both have
curly, black hair and gray eyes. One of them is a little girl
with a plaid jumper and a green ribbon in her hair. The other
child is a ruddy-cheeked boy with navy pants and a gray
shirt. They are strikingly beautiful children. Climbing the
steps to the porch, they stare wistfully at the scattered
toys and wicker chairs. Then they begin to knock upon the
door. She is standing by the living room window, peeking out
from the layers of beige curtain. The children look achingly
familiar but for some reason, she is afraid of them.
"Mommy, Mommy!" they begin to pound upon the door as they
call to her. Why are they calling her "Mommy?" These are not
her children! Finally, they turn away from the door and sit
down on the porch steps. She can hear them beginning to weep.
And then she knows. She knows who these children are. They
are the children who were never given a chance to live.
She looks down now at the dry, curled edges of the dead
flowers and remembers her younger years. They had wanted to
be modern Jews. They were determined to keep their ancient
traditions and still somehow grasp onto the American dream.
They wanted the white picket fence, the two car garage, the
dog and the two children. And when they were blessed with a
boy and a girl in the early years of their marriage, they
decided they could stop right there. It was enough.
More children would just be too stressful. They would
interfere somehow with their dreams. And so they bought a
golden retriever instead and watched with pride as their son
became a little league star and their daughter became an
honor student. Now the children were grown with families of
their own, and soon after the nest was emptied, she and her
husband had moved into a garden apartment at the edge of
They were enjoying their golden years together, but somehow
this dream kept recurring. It began to haunt her, but she
couldn't speak about it. Her husband would think she was
being ridiculous. They had never regretted their choices, had
they? But she knew. She knew that these children in the dream
were meant to be hers, and now, they were beyond her
She let the dead flowers fall upon the grass and picked up
the soft blanket that she had been knitting. Pressing it to
her cheek, she wiped away the stray, unbidden tears that
filled her eyes. Would the children come to her every night,
begging to be let into her home? She thinks of her cowardice
in the dream — how every night she hides in the folds
of the curtains — afraid of her own guilt. But maybe
tonight she would dream a different dream.
Maybe tonight she will open the door when they knock. She
will embrace them and wipe away their tears. She will welcome
them into her heart. But somehow she knows that she can't do
that. As she walks back into the apartment, she realizes that
there will always be that closed door between her and her
unborn children. She is stuck behind the curtains, and all
she can do now is weep with them.