“Come, sit with me and talk,” I wish my Grandemaman would say.

But she sits silently on the beach house porch, sipping on coffee and staring out across Narragansett Bay toward Galilee. The seagulls soar and dive above her, anxious to get at the leftover dinner of crab legs and steamers strewn across the nearby patio table.

She takes a deep puff of her cigarette, exhales, her smoke mingling with the thick fog that greets us nearly every morning here.

“It will burn off,” the aunts say to the teenagers who are anxious for tans. And it almost always does.

The faded cushion Grandemaman sits on is plump with humidity and sand. For as long as I can remember, it’s been a fixture on the beach house porch.

My Grandemaman lost a baby girl, too; more than fifty years ago.

“Crib death,” my mom told me once. “Nobody knows what happened and we never really spoke about it.”

The haunting tones of the buoy bells alert the approaching ships to the shallow water at the entrance to our harbor.

I wonder what it must be like for her to have lost a child and not be able to talk about it. How painful it must have been to stuff down the sadness and the fear and the guilt that goes along with losing a baby.

Still unaware of my presence, Grandemaman reaches underneath the towel that covers her newly dyed hair and scratches. She used to scratch my head as I fell asleep up in the attic of the beach house; the soothing sound of her thin nails through my hair put me to sleep almost immediately.

She hasn’t spoken to me about Sophia.

“She just can’t do it,” my aunts told me. “It’s too painful for her. They just didn’t talk about those things back then.”

A small part of me is angry that she has retreated completely during the worst time in my life. But a bigger part of me forgives her; because I don’t know what it would be like if I couldn’t talk about Sophia; if I had to stifle my screams and hide my tears. If I had to endure my loss in silence. I don’t know what kind of person I would be in 50 years.

All I know is that I ache to sit along side her now, on that plump cushion, staring out at the sea.