Papa said my baby brother’s spirit is a miracle because it’s the only thing in the world that hasn’t done anything twice.
“So you only get to be a miracle once?”
“And only when you’re too little to know about it?”
“Doesn’t seem right, papa.”
“It ain’t, but that’s why we’re here. To keep each other’s miracles. Keep ’em in a kind of jar. A kind of pickling jar, where they even get to get a little bit sweeter if we let ’em, and they never really have to go bad.”
“Where did my miracle go?”
“Well, I took some of it, and your mama, she took some of it, too. Most folks don’t know what to do with another person’s spirit. Your friends will just see jokes and bust knuckles, and your teachers only know you for easy days and tough ones, but family knows that this is your miracle, and knows just where to keep it.”
“It’s gone from me, then?”
“It’s never gone from you. It comes out a little every day, and we catch as catch can with what we see. I still have mine, too, even if it’s running like winter sap sometimes.”
Papa said the miracle isn’t magic, but it’s just like magic because if you don’t want to believe in it, you’ll just keep looking closer at it with the wrong kind of eyes until it doesn’t mean anything.