Stairs, A Gnome, and Evergreen wood
The first step. The first step is an uninviting, solid concrete block, daring you to take a chance. The second step. The second step is wooden. There are nails sticking out, reminding you of the harsh winters and hot summers it’s been through. Reminding you of the little kids skipping up the creaking stairs after a long summer evening. Reminding you of all of the tired parents grabbing onto the railings that have been eaten away by Mother Nature while tripping over the first step as they chase after their young ones. Reminding you of all the parties and play-dates, and of every family member who would walk up those stairs on a Thanksgiving afternoon. The landing. The landing that has such a welcoming feel. There are flower pots hanging from the ceiling during the summer months and a friendly gnome that sits at the front door just waiting to say hello. Then the doors. The lovely faded pink door with a rough brass knob and the transparent glass door with leaves and spirals that shows the magical pink door behind it.
As you enter the house, a warm feeling of grays and whites flows through you and the dining room to the right invites you to sit and stay a while. The dining room. The monotone dining room with a wooden table and four dark evergreen legs that are just barely holding the table steady. The vintage wood tabletop looks brand new after all these years being covered by festive plastic table runners that protected it from years of messy children. Then the chandelier. The chandelier that looks as if it was swung around a couple times, twisting it like a pretzel. Lastly, there are six matching wooden chairs that share a history with the table. They have the same chipped dark evergreen finish with the same vintage wood shouting “I’ve been here a while”.
My grandmother’s hair is wavy, red, and cascades over her head and face, protecting her beautiful mind. Her hair is short and always pokes out from the sides showing her assortment of stylish earrings. Even though her hair’s short, when she walks it glistens and bounces with every step. The strands are brighter than day and always have this glow that can only be described as extraordinary. Her square glasses hold the thin locks from getting in her eyes when she isn’t tugging at them. Eventually the vibrant red curls fall back into place and reveal her natural beauty. They define her soft Irish face and remind me of how kind she is. Her eight brothers and sisters all share the same heavenly locks that I admire so much. Their mother, my great grandmother, is the one who gives them the famous ‘do. They’re the ones I thank for my stylish red highlights that make an appearance mid summer when the warm sunlight hits my hair just right.
My name in Hebrew means “God is My Oath”. Only recently has that meaning come into play in my busy life. There have been times when I have wished I had a different name and times when I have loved my name and cherished it. I never knew why I had a name that was so long that all the kids at school couldn’t pronounce. I wanted a name that was shorter and simpler. I wanted something that I would be able to write quicker and say easier. Something like Lily or Mary or Claire. I’ve had teachers, parents, friends, and even family members try to give me a nickname to lighten their load when shouting my name across a room. Names such as, Little B, as my dad would call me, El, Ella, Ellie, Izzy, Lizzy, and now Liz. When someone would call me one of those nicknames, I would get embarrassed and refuse it. Even from a young age I would get defensive and tell people; “No, it’s just Elizabeth”. I hated how long my name was yet I didn’t want it any other way. I didn’t like how difficult it was yet I protected it as though it was a lost treasure. It sounds silly to say that I don’t like my name after hearing how I protected it but now that I’m older, I tell most people to call me Elizabeth, even though I’m still called Liz by default, which i’m okay with. I’ve come to appreciate the grace and beauty behind my name even though it’s long and quite a mouthful. It was given to me by my older brother Colin. When he came across the name Elizabeth, he had decided that that would be my name. When my mom would try to suggest another name to him and my dad, Colin would refuse and tell her, “No, her name will be Elizabeth”. My mother loved the name Elizabeth, especially because it’s been in our family for so long. In my family, it’s a name that a lot of my relatives carry with dignity and pride, therefore, I wouldn’t have liked to be named anything other than the beautiful, Elizabeth.
A kid at heart
When I was twelve, I got to visit the most magical place on earth, Disney World. This was also my first plane ride, seeing clouds as fluffy as pillows and sunsets from a brand new perspective, was all I had ever dreamed about. Although I couldn’t remember boarding the plane, I vividly remember sitting against the window and fidgeting around in my seat waiting for the plane to take off. It was the longest ten minutes of my life. As soon as we were off the ground I couldn’t help but smile. As my ears popped I jumped up and down in my seat, the seat belt restricting me from floating out of my seat from excitement. My foot tapped against the hard plane floor and my fingers looked as if I was typing at an invisible keyboard as I waited for us to reach the top of the world. I gasped as we made it to the top. I pressed my face to the window and stared outside for what felt like an eternity. Next thing I know we’re descending from heaven and everything becomes dark. The sun disappears and we bump into the earth. I hop off the plane and run to grab my luggage. Everyone, in their pajamas and slippers, trudges behind me, stretching out their legs and backs as they get off the plane. The next couple minutes seem to fly by, like a video being sped up. The Animal Kingdom Resort glides toward me and I look up at the sturdy building that seems to disappear the higher it gets. I’m greeted with a warm “jambo”, and stare at the new world I had just walked into. The African culture flourishes as I walk to my room. The beds are embroidered with patterns from Africa and a small set of towels takes the shape of the classic Mickey logo on top of the comforter. I run to the window and I gasp. Lounging outside my window were giraffes, ostriches, flamingos, and zebras. The scenery looked just like Africa and I picture myself on a expedition truck riding through the safari passing by all the beautiful animals. The night ends quickly and suddenly it’s morning. The sun rises bright and early and the sounds of birds chirping and stomping feet wakes me up. I suddenly remember where I am and my heart beats faster and faster as I wake up from a long nights rest. The morning seemed to rush past me, and the next thing I know I’m standing in front of the Magic Castle with my mouth hung open. The wind blows and the world stops around me. Little kids slowly become quieter and my surroundings become blurry. All I can see is the castle sitting there, waiting for me. Mickey and Minnie stand at the top with their hands above their heads waving down to everyone. They slowly descend the gorgeous staircase until music starts playing and they start to dance their way down. It was hot and sunny, but I couldn’t tell since I was completely mesmerized. I felt like I was in a dream. My eyes grew bigger and bigger as they came closer and became a reality. When they got to the bottom, I could hear noise again and my vision returned to normal. I looked around and felt small, as if I was a little kid as well. I smile as I take in my surroundings. I close my eyes and breathe in the humid air and let the adrenaline settle. The next six days fly by and next thing I know I’m seated on a plane about to take off. My head heavy and my eyes droopy. My skin still felt warm from the sun beating down on me all day and I press my cool hands to my sunburnt face. Images of the trip flash through my mind and I grin as I remember all the fun I had. Adrenaline rushes through me as I picture myself running through the parks. My eyes open and I look out the plane window and spot a tiny glowing figure, the castle. The plane glides through the air and I only think one thing; “I can’t wait to go back”.