Lightning at the End of the Tunnel

[est. reading time 1’38”]

It rained all morning as it had done the entire night, and yesterday too. Ada looked out the window and saw the dark clouds form an impenetrable wall. At its heart a deep purple that seemed electric. Pregnant with promise, the cloud formation broadcasted a simple message: Sally’s birthday party will be a disaster.

An awesome fluorescent line of light tore the sky, followed by an enormous thunder-clap that felt like an exclamation mark. It seemed to illuminate her failure as a mother to give her 10-year-old daughter what she needed. The opportunity to make new friends at a new school in an unfamiliar town, miles away from her old life. Only because her mother felt the need to move in with her boyfriend.

Ada felt between guilt and exhilaration. She loved her new life with Mark. The house with its beautiful view from the kitchen window, his quaint collection of taxidermied birds, the way his hair smelled in the morning. She loved everything about it, but nothing could mask the fact that Sally absolutely hated her new life. It was as if the move had catapulted her into an early onset of puberty. No matter what Ada said or did, all her efforts were greeted with Sally’s dark brooding eyes under her knotted brow and a snarling lift of the left corner of her mouth.

What had happened to the sweet happy child that skipped all the way to school and held funeral services for dead ladybugs. Had she departed for good, or would she resurface on the other side of that dark tunnel of adolescence? Maybe she should have a baby with Mark, she wasn’t too old yet and it seemed like the natural step after fusing their material lives. To smell the soft hair and skin of a newborn, the thought of it almost made her swoon. Would Sally like to have a brother or sister, or would another child simply cut the last string of their biological bond?



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