Memory holds promises that time has failed to fulfil.
Childhood flashbacks with timed precision. A cold winter night. Our little room hot with body heat and wood-burning fire. Grandma and two neighbours bent over their embroidery; wrinkled faces - buds in colourful babushkas. Grandma is laughing. A song breaks free and gets passed between three smiling faces - up and down, side to side, bounces off canvas, lands on a curtain rod and plants itself firmly in my memory.
A feather circles its way around the yard. Once again, grandma is laughing; so hard, her eyes squint shut and you cannot see their greenness. She is freed of her babushka. A goose is tucked securely between her knees, head down, ga-ga-ing its orange beak off; but grandma is not perturbed by the commotion - she is focused on the neighbour's joke and the job at hand - plucking soft baby feathers. She already has a pillowcase full of weightless down - for our new blanket.
I watch the stray feather trailing grandma's laughter across the yard, into my memory, full of promises that life will not betray her happiness.