我的祖父和祖母結婚已逾半個世紀，然而多少年來，他們彼此間不倦地玩著一個特殊的遊戲：在一個意想不到的地方寫下“Shmily”這個詞留待對方來發現。他們輪換著在屋前房後留下“Shmily”，一經對方發現，就開始新的一輪。 他們用手指在糖罐和麵箱裏寫下“Shmily”，等著準備下一餐飯的對方來發現；他們在覆著霜花的玻璃上寫下“Shmily”；一次又一次的熱水澡後，總可以看見霧氣蒙罩的鏡子上留下的“Shmily”。 有時，祖母甚至會重卷一整卷衛生紙，只為了在最後一片紙上寫下“Shmily”。 沒有“Shmily”不可能出現的地方。倉促間塗寫的“Shmily”會出現在汽車坐墊上，或是一張貼在方向盤軸心的小紙條上。這一類的字條會被塞進鞋子裏或是壓在枕下。 “Shmily”會被書寫在壁爐臺面的薄塵上，或是勾畫在爐內的灰底上。這個神秘的詞，像祖父母的傢具一樣成了他們房間的一部分。 直到很久以後，我才能完全理解祖父母之間遊戲的意義。年輕使我不懂得愛——那種純潔且曆久彌堅的愛。然而，我從未懷疑過祖父母之間的感情。他們彼此深愛。他們的小遊戲已遠非調情消遣，那是一種生活方式。他們之間的感情是基於一種深摯的愛和獻身精神，不是每一個人都能體驗到的。 祖父和祖母一有機會就彼此執手相握。他們在小廚房裏錯身而過時偷吻；他們說完彼此的半截句子；他們一起玩拼字和字謎遊戲。祖母常忘情地對我耳語祖父有多可愛迷人，依然還是那麼帥氣。她驕傲地宣稱自己的確懂得“如何選擇”。每次餐前他們垂首祈禱時，感謝他們受到的諸多福佑：一個幸福的家庭、好運道和擁有彼此。 可是一片烏去遮蔽了祖父母的家：祖母的癌惡化了。首次發現是在10年前。跟以往一樣，祖父總是跟祖母肩並肩地走過人生艱難之旅的每一步。為了安慰祖母，祖父將他們的臥房噴塗成黃色，這樣在祖母病重不能出屋時，亦能感到周圍的陽光。 起先，在祖父堅實的手臂和拐杖的幫扶下，他們每天清晨一起去教堂散步和默禱。但隨著祖母日見瘦弱，終於，祖父只能獨自去教堂，祈求上帝看顧他的妻子。 然而那一天，我們擔心憂懼的事終於還是發生了，祖母去了。 “Shmily”寫在祖母葬禮上花束的黃色緞帶上。當人群散去，叔伯、姑姑和其他的家庭成員又走上前來最後一次圍聚在祖母身旁。祖父步向祖母的靈柩，用顫抖的聲音輕輕的唱起“知道我有多麼愛你……”透過悲傷的淚，這歌聲低沉輕柔地飄入耳來…… 我終於明白了他們特殊小遊戲的意義“S— h— m— I— l— y”：“See how much I love you（知道我多麼愛你）”。 因悲傷而顫慄著，我永遠無法忘記那一刻，這個令人震撼的發現。謝謝你們，祖父祖母，教我懂得了愛。
My grandparents were married for over half a century, and played their own special game from the time they had met each other. The goal of their game was to write the word "SHMILEY" in a surprise place for the other to find. They took turns leaving "SHMILEY" around the house, and as soon as one of them discovered it, it was their turn to hide it once more. They dragged "SHMILEY" with their fingers through the sugar and flour containers to await whoever was preparing the next meal. They smeared it in the dew on the windows overlooking the patio where my grandma always fed us warm, homemade pudding with blue food coloring. "SHMILEY" was written in the steam left on the mirror after a hot shower, where it would reappear bath after bath. At one point, my grandmother even unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper to leave "SHMILEY" on the very last sheet. There was no end to the places "SHMILEY" would pop up. Little notes with "SHMILEY" scribbled hurriedly were found on dashboards and car seats, or taped to steering wheels. The notes were stuffed inside shoes and left under pillows. "SHMILEY" was written in the dust upon the mantel and traced in the ashes of the fireplace. This mysterious word was as much a part of my grandparents' house as the furniture. It took me a long time before I was able to fully appreciate my grandparents' game. Skepticism has kept me from believing in true love -- one that is pure and enduring. However, I never doubted my grandparents' relationship. They had love down pat. It was more than their flirtatious little games; it was a way of life. Their relationship was based on a devotion and passionate affection which not everyone is lucky enough to experience. Grandma and Grandpa held hands every chance they could. They stole kisses as they bumped into each other in their tiny kitchen. They finished each other's sentences and shared the daily crossword puzzle and word jumble. My grandmother whispered to me about how cute my grandpa was, how handsome and old he had grown to be. She claimed that she really knew "how to pick 'em." Before every meal they bowed their heads and gave thanks, marveling at their blessings: a wonderful family, good fortune, and each other. But there was a dark cloud in my grandparents' life: my grandmother had breast cancer. The disease had first appeared in years earlier. As always, Grandpa was with her every step of the way. He comforted her in their yellow room, painted that way so that she could always be surrounded by sunshine, even when she was too sick to go outside. Now the cancer was again attacking her body. With the help of a cane and my grandfather's steady hand, they went to church every morning. But my grandmother grew steadily weaker until, finally, she could not leave the house anymore. For a while, Grandpa would go to church alone, praying to God to watch over his wife. Then one day, what we all dreaded finally happened. Grandma was gone. "SHMILEY." It was scrawled in yellow on the pink ribbons of my grandmother's funeral bouquet. As the crowd thinned and the last mourners turned to leave, my aunts, uncles, cousins, and other family members came forward and gathered around Grandma one last time. Grandpa stepped up to my grandmother's casket and, taking a shaky breath, he began to sing to her. Through his tears and grief, the song came, a deep and throaty lullaby. Shaking with my own sorrow, I will never forget that moment. For I knew that, although I couldn't begin to fathom the depth of their love, I had been privileged to witness its unmatched beauty. S-h-m-i-l-y: See How Much I Love You. Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa, for letting me see.
By: Laura Jeanne Allen, the granddaughter of Alice and Anthony McAndrews of Rochester, NY