Last hour, last day before break, alone in an empty classroom, is when
I hear them, sleigh bells, silver jangling in the air, then steady thudding.
Before I can leave my chair, a line of children gallop by, shaking
handbells. By the time I reach the doorway, they are past me, heading down
the corridor. No one sees me watching, not even the child at the
end, my Alejandro. Alejandro, who tries to speak English, gets
embarrassed, says, “Forget it,” folds his arms and closes up his face.
Alejandro, whose sudden smiles I can count on one hand and still have
a finger or two left to hope on. Alejandro, a skeptic at
seven, if not yet a confirmed cynic. This same person brandishes
his bell on high, proclaims to the world, “I like!” and leaps twice in the air,
rounds the corner, vanishes from view. I stare at the space that held him,
bells, echoes of clear joy resounding, reminding me of secret hearts
that try to reach the surface no matter how much weight we make them bear.
upwelling: the rising of deep, cold waters to shallower depths in response to reduced surface pressures
Carole Greenfield was raised in Colombia and now lives in New England. Her work has appeared in Red Dancefloor, Gulfstream, The Sow’s Ear, Women’s Words: Resolution, Arc, and is forthcoming in The Eunoia Review.