You dial. Over and over. Hear the same response. Nothing.
You see visions of childhood, how she baked rugelach when she knew you’d visit. How she pinched your cheek between her thumb and index finger (which you hated). How she let you sip Turkish coffee, which you never quite decided you liked. She taught you a Jewish/Polish folk song, you’ve forgotten but which comes back fragmented in dreams that others call nightmares, via night sweats and heavy tears and so much longing.
A world war of hate made her a survivor, a citizen of the universe (her words). “So lucky,” she said, over and over, eyes wet, voice thick yet grateful, head shaking so subtly; some siblings, father, cousins, were not so lucky.
Your fingers tremble on your cell, your heart hoping, your brain, instead, certain her vast quantity of luck has run dry.
South Florida so distant, geometrically, emotionally, temperately, from Krakow, but some lines seem so very thin, always. Tragedy can strike, and does, anywhere.
You board the plane that will take you to Miami, where you suspect—know–your heart will break into dozens upon dozens of concrete fragments. And there will be no Bubbe, ever again. And you cling to her last words, “My beautiful, Caro, you are everything.” Where, in your heart, you know: Bubbe, you’ve always been everything.