Lucy pulls up the gravel driveway and parks in front of her grandfather’s one level farmhouse. Opening the screen door, she shuffles into the kitchen, checking her violently curly hair in the small oval mirror hanging on the wall. Since grammy died, she is the only one who uses it, or bothers to clean it anymore.
“Grandad, you in here” she yells, her voice echoing through the seventies wallpaper and burnt orange carpet.
“In the living room Lucinda. ”
Lucy takes off her coat and drapes it over the back of the dining room chair. Grandpa is sitting by the window, a pair of chunky black binoculars up to his gold rimmed glasses.
“The goldfinches have been particularly sparse this spring “, Grandpa says, setting the binoculars on the side table and marking down the chickadee he was watching in his birdwatching notebook.
“Maybe if you could see anything through the dirt on the windows you would have seen more” Lucy says. Grandpa chuckles and picks up the picture on the table next to the notebook. It’s a photo of grandma in her twenties, arms outstretched with bird seed cupped in her hand. A goldfinch perched on her fingertips is eating the offering.
“Speaking of clean windows, the window cleaners are scheduled to come soon while I’m preparing for the party tonight.”
“Wonderful” Grandpa says.
“I’m going to take a nap before our guests arrive.”
“Let me know if I can get you anything. I’m just going to be here in kitchen getting things ready.” Lucy says, helping him out of his chair and handing him his walker. When the window cleaners arrive, Lucy invites them in. They are friendly and professional, and when she asks if she should move any of the furniture they respectfully say she need not trouble herself, they will move anything necessary themselves, and put it back exactly where they found it.
Eventually the windows are done, and the cake and appetizers Lucy has been working on are finished. The guests are about to arrive, and Lucy takes her grandfather into the living room.
“You have to close your eyes.” she tells him. She helps him along and sees him to his chair.
“You can open your eyes now!”
Grandfather opens his eyes and in front of him is a cardinal swinging gently in the feeder. He is confused by how close it is, like he is outside just inches away, and if he reached out his hand, he could stroke its feathers.
“Lucy what happened to the window?”
She laughs, the glass is transparent from the cleaning and the light coming through warms the carpet beneath her bare feet.
“Isn’t it beautiful?”
When the rest of the bird watching club arrives, they sit around the newly cleaned picture window, eat cake, and record the coming and going of birds. That evening before the sun sets, two more goldfinches have been recorded in grandfather’s notebook.