A Short Story on the Website of
the Red Dirt Writers Society

Early September
by Beth Stephenson (Apr 2007)

I never much missed what I never had until that day.  The rain fell on the windshield like we were in a carwash, and my dad spoke only in clipped tones as we drove.  Sometimes I could hear the water slosh over the bumpers and my father muttered, whether curses or prayers, I couldn’t tell and I didn’t ask.

            At noon, my father told my mother to open the lunch.  We had planned to picnic on our way by pulling off on the shoulder, but Dad was afraid to risk getting stuck in the mud.  She passed out tuna sandwiches and we used their wax paper wrappings for plates.

            My brother asked how much farther we had to go. My mother checked the map and answered, “Only an hour.” A fist clenched in my stomach. One hour left until my eight –year life collapsed.  I left the tuna, the chips and cookies untouched.

            Why does time fly when we wish it would crawl?

            “Here!” Mom said.  Dad turned the car slowly to be sure he didn’t miss the driveway.  Huge trees overhung the pavement.  I thought I might throw up.

            “There it is.” Dad’s voice was relieved.  He pulled into a parking space and shut off the engine. 

            “Look at all the children!  I wonder why they let them play in the rain!” Mom said.

             I never regretted my blindness so much as in that moment.  I saw only blurs of color moving in the gray, but I could hear them and the fist in my gut relaxed.  Perhaps a school where the blind children played in the rain would be full of windows to the world and not the gray, moldy prison I had imagined.

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