Sparrow

     Ivy flicked the power switch on the radio and pumped the volume. Bonnie Raitt’s rich voice sang ‘Something to Talk About’.

     It began with an easy shift of her legging-clad hips, then her shoulders, and soon the beat found her bare feet. With arms out to the sides like vines sashaying in the breeze she gyrated with complete abandon, swinging her hips right, then left, working the beat for all she was worth. Tossing her long auburn hair, she added a little head banging for good measure. This was one of her favorite songs and she was in her favorite place—the kitchen, surrounded by her collection of antique cookie jars, stacks of cookbooks, canning equipment, her Gran Essie’s old flowered apron hanging from a peg, a refrigerator covered in kid-art, and a bouquet of sunflowers watering in a Mason jar.

     Ivy picked up a wooden spoon, drummed on jars of canned salsa cooling on the cupboard, and then used it as a microphone.

     “Let’s give them something to talk about. A little mystery to figure oouuuttt,” she sang, conceded her attempt to sing along with Bonnie was humbling at best, and threw the spoon into the sink.

      The canner on the stove released a plume of steam into the air as it waited for her to drop the next jars of salsa, her secret recipe, inside.

     A tiny police car, one of Evan’s toys, lay in the middle of the floor. It hadn’t been there earlier and there was no question as to the culprit. Grandma Esther, their resident ghost. There was meaning behind this, Ivy knew, but she had neither the time nor the inclination to decipher her grandmother’s message now. Maybe, Gran Essie simply approved of Ivy’s extraordinary progress this morning. Maybe she didn’t.

     Ivy raised her purple-toenailed foot and kicked the car out of the way. It zinged across the floor, smacked into the wall and spun in circles. Ivy watched it for a moment before her body caught the beat and she was dancing again.

     Suddenly, a violent, shattering crash interrupted her mid-twirl.

     Ivy screamed, spun around, and grabbed her chest. Gran Essie’s cookie jar lay on the floor in a splattering of ceramic pieces glazed sage green. Large chunks among the shards.

     Year ago Ivy moved it to the top of the cabinets with all her other cookie jars to keep it safe. And now, her heart sank to the floor at the sight before her.

     With a slap to the radio, she stopped Bonnie mid-note.

     It had been a month since she’d dusted up there, but she’d pushed the jar back into place. She was sure of it. Nothing could have tipped it from the top of the cupboard except—why would Gran Essie want attention bad enough to do this?

     Ivy flicked the power switch on the radio and pumped the volume. Bonnie Raitt’s rich voice sang ‘Something to Talk About’.

     It began with an easy shift of her legging-clad hips, then her shoulders, and soon the beat found her bare feet. With arms out to the sides like vines sashaying in the breeze she gyrated with complete abandon, swinging her hips right, then left, working the beat for all she was worth. Tossing her long auburn hair, she added a little head banging for good measure. This was one of her favorite songs and she was in her favorite place—the kitchen, surrounded by her collection of antique cookie jars, stacks of cookbooks, canning equipment, her Gran Essie’s old flowered apron hanging from a peg, a refrigerator covered in kid-art, and a bouquet of sunflowers watering in a Mason jar.

     Ivy picked up a wooden spoon, drummed on jars of canned salsa cooling on the cupboard, and then used it as a microphone.

     “Let’s give them something to talk about. A little mystery to figure oouuuttt,” she sang, conceded her attempt to sing along with Bonnie was humbling at best, and threw the spoon into the sink.

      The canner on the stove released a plume of steam into the air as it waited for her to drop the next jars of salsa, her secret recipe, inside.

     A tiny police car, one of Evan’s toys, lay in the middle of the floor. It hadn’t been there earlier and there was no question as to the culprit. Grandma Esther, their resident ghost. There was meaning behind this, Ivy knew, but she had neither the time nor the inclination to decipher her grandmother’s message now. Maybe, Gran Essie simply approved of Ivy’s extraordinary progress this morning. Maybe she didn’t.

     Ivy raised her purple-toenailed foot and kicked the car out of the way. It zinged across the floor, smacked into the wall and spun in circles. Ivy watched it for a moment before her body caught the beat and she was dancing again.

     Suddenly, a violent, shattering crash interrupted her mid-twirl.

     Ivy screamed, spun around, and grabbed her chest. Gran Essie’s cookie jar lay on the floor in a splattering of ceramic pieces glazed sage green. Large chunks among the shards.

     Year ago Ivy moved it to the top of the cabinets with all her other cookie jars to keep it safe. And now, her heart sank to the floor at the sight before her.

     With a slap to the radio, she stopped Bonnie mid-note.

     It had been a month since she’d dusted up there, but she’d pushed the jar back into place. She was sure of it. Nothing could have tipped it from the top of the cupboard except—why would Gran Essie want attention bad enough to do this?

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