"Looks like you forgot your shoes there, sonny!" laughed a short old man with a very long beard. My eyes slowly adjusted to the harsh whiteness of the magnificent winter wonderland laid out before me. Then I heard the voice again, "Looks like you forgot your shoes, did you just get out of bed?"
"Where am I?" I wondered out loud.
The old man said "Tell me about three things you can see."
"I see an empty, crumbling stone building; six beautiful trees with white lights, and a mother with her small child. I see a chair on my porch outside with a shadowy figure in it poised to sit up. I see that snow is beginning to slow down."
As the shadowy figure stood, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It looked like my grandpa, but it couldn't be, he died on Christmas Eve three years ago. As the figure took a step closer I said, "Poppy, is that you?"
The silence that followed seemed never-ending, until he replied, "Yes." I felt the tears begin to well up in my eyes. The old man who claimed to be my grandfather rubbed his neck, looking uncomfortable. "You always were a bit of a crier, weren't you?", he commented. "What's that book you're hiding there?" he asked with a derisive smirk.
I kept the book hidden behind my back, reluctant to show him. But I know I had to show him the book because how else could I find out who he really was? I revealed the worn, velvet covered tome with an ornate brass lock and watched his eyes widen.
He slowly reached out and I handed the book over to him. As he opened the cover, he looked up at me and I felt the cold surround me again. The light dimmed and I was back in my familiar window seat. I held the book closed in my hands. I gazed out the window and felt Poppy's presence still around me ...