Power's out. Run around in the dark—don't scare the kids you're babysitting with the pitterpatter
of footsteps. Rummage around under the sink and find something heavy and flashlightlike.
No, it's a candlestick—many candlesticks. Close enough. Grab the candles from their hiding
spot—how did they get there, anyways?—and shove them in the candle holders. There are no
matches—maybe with the candles? Back under the sink—hit your head. Swear, wake up the
baby, who starts crying in her crib. Why does this house have to be so small, why does sound
travel so quickly? The flash outside reminds you that light travels faster. One Mississippi, two
Mississippi, crack of drums in the sky. Baby cries louder. Run up to her room, pick her up, try
not to let her hear the fear in your heartbeat. Baby cries louder. "It's okay. It's okay." Rub her
back. She quiets; you sit in the rocking chair. Maybe her steadying breathing comforts you more
than your soothing words comfort her. Stay with her a while. Even when she is calm, you stay.
Even when she is asleep, you stay. Even when the parents come home, you stay. "It's far too
dangerous. Remember that tree that split right in front of our eyes? We'll call your parents."
Power's out, you say, so they use cell phones. The screen gives a little light to the room. You
relax a bit. A short back-and-forth settles the plan to spend the night…and then the light of
morning wakes you after not seeing light for so long.
Posted on Wed, April 1, 2009
by Rebecca Luberoff, First-Year, Bryn Mawr College filed under