A Drop of Sunlight in a Beam of Rain

July 24, 2010
She opened her eyes slowly, letting them adjust to the blinding brightness of white-gray clouds crowding an early sky. Her cheeks were dry and had never felt the tears of eyes rebuked by the sun. That celestial being was a myth to both her mind and her body; she had never seen nor felt the warm comfort of its rays.

Pushing the covers away, she sat up and got out of bed. Her room was simple with only a bed, desk, closet, and dresser. The floor was cold and she walked quickly to avoid its icy touch. She washed her face and brushed her teeth, flinching at the cold water, but too tired and too impatient to wait for it to warm. She combed her hair, pinning it up into its usual bun; there was no need for any other style. Returning to her room, she opened her closet.

Her clothes were well kept, but plain; she lacked both the time and the fashion sense for an elaborate wardrobe. Selecting a grey dress, she changed quickly, not bothering to admire herself in the mirror for more than a moment before heading downstairs. There were fewer windows here, so she lit several candles, illuminating the shadowy room. Something fluttered past her and she raised one of the candles higher to see what it was. A small, grey moth had found its way inside, taking flight, disturbed by her presence. It flew closer and closer toward the flame, until, without hesitancy, it entered the scorching heat, vanishing with a hiss. She was indifferent toward its quick, painless death; it was only one moth.

Sighing, she pulled back the curtain from the window next to a small table. On it was a tiny pot with several seeds tucked in the moist dirt. She had bought it over a week ago, but it showed no sign of growing, and she no longer expected it to.

Walking down the path from her front door, she decided to go to town. The town was quite a distance from where she lived, so she needed to hurry and be home before the sun went down. The forest path would be quickest. After a while, it started to rain, and she was glad to have brought her umbrella, letting it shield her from the cold, wet drops. The heavy rain made it hard to see and she quickly got lost. By the time the rain slowed to a light shower, she was well misplaced in a far-reaching forest. Turning to look around, something caught her eye and she paused. What looked like a cluster of stars lay just ahead, breaking the continuous green of the surrounding foliage. As she moved closer to it, her heart skipped a beat. There, before her, was a column of light that was no less misplaced in this forest than she was. Dropping her umbrella, she allowed her hair, her clothes, her skin to soak in the life-giving drops.

And with that, she stepped into the sun.

Oh! It was the most amazing sensation! It was as though a merciful flame was brushing against her skin with a feather-like touch. She could not help but hold her breath. Closing her eyes, she let it out with a loud “Ahhh!” and her shoulders relaxed, her heart lightened, and her mind cleared; Father Time could wait a while. Opening her eyes, she glanced down to see the sun entering crystal dew drops on wild flowers and blue grass, creating the “stars” she had seen earlier. Closing her eyes again, she lifted her face, letting the sun’s white flashes dance under her eyelids. The rain was cool and refreshing, and she stuck out her tongue, catching the clear, salty drops. She could not have told you how long she stood there, only that it had not been long enough. The sky began to darken, so she plucked a handful of flowers and started to find her way back, not really minding how long the walk would take.

By the time she arrived at her home, it was dark and the rain fell heavily. She did not mind that she was soaked; she was comfortable and warm. Lighting some candles, she sat down at the table and was surprised to see that the once dormant seeds had sprouted. As she watched the burning wicks, her eyelids became heavy, and she lay her head down on her arm, her other hand holding the flowers, a lazy grin playing on her lips. Tomorrow, she thought, tomorrow, I will find the sun again.

A few hours later, just before sunrise, she opened her eyes halfway, still half-asleep. For some reason, it was warmer than usual, and brighter than before. She thought she was dreaming; she could see the sun. Content, she slowly drifted back into a deep slumber. The sun was just as warm.

With midmorning came the shouts and chatter of the excited townspeople. The sun was out, the rain had ceased, and a fire was raging. Had they come a few hours earlier, it might have been put out, but they just had not noticed it. Before much could be done, the old house collapsed inward, crushing itself. They would have no trouble putting out the fire now.

Tired, they decided to search through the rubble later. They did not expect to find anything nor anyone; no one could have been living somewhere so secluded. The black smoke rose quickly into the sky, taking no notice of the insignificant townspeople; they were like ants from above. It climbed and climbed, polluting the blue. It was foul, a dark, looming thing, hateful and spiteful. But it could not reach the sun.





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