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Sad Bedtime


Elizabeth walked into the still forest. She could push away memories of ash and the crumbling asphalt and breath in the cool air, forget her joyous house that erupted in flames. She could think about her thoughts as if they were the most important in the world, be selfish and . . . . . forget


She staggered underneath the silvery shadows of the cedars. She inhaled the warm May air and made her way down the grainy path. She passed yellow primroses that looked like liquid sunshine and bluebells that were catching the moonlight in their waxy petals. She ducked underneath feathery boughs of apple blossoms and over mossy rocks and crystal brooks that looked like fairy glass. 


Then, she reached her spot. It was full of verdant grass and surrounded by young birches. Squirrels hopped around and little starflowers sang in the groves. There was a fragrant white rose bush clustered to the left. Finally, there was a sky of beauty that was ineffable. With shiny stars clustered in its navy blanket, but beyond those stars were faces. Of loved ones. Elizabeth sat down and ran her hands through the soothing grass. She let her lips skim the meandering brook. Then she directed her soulful eyes at the misty velvet sky, lit up by the silvery moon and dancing stars. 


First, she saw a star carrying a rosy crimson glow. It was wrinkled with goldish lines and glowed perfectly in the night. She named this blushing star Bella. After her daughter. A light-hearted spirit full of joy. With dreamy hazel eyes and rosy cheeks. With hair that danced with the wind. She kept looking at it until big hazel eyes started to draw themselves out and delicate strokes began to form blushed lips, then a button nose. Then without warning, Bella’s dancing spirit came alive in weary Elizabeth’s head.


“Oh, the stars are the most beautiful thing my eyes will ever see. I love them. I can see dad. Look---that star and that star make up him.” said Bella lying in Elizabeth’s spot. “Oh Mother, I would love to live out here, let the bluebirds sing me to sleep in their honeyed voices. It’d be perfect…”


Slowly, Bella’s small body faded into colourful spots. Then another memory revisited her mind. Not a bright happy one. A cold blue one.


They all sat at the dining tables. Faces lit up with shallow scared smiles. Smiles that were drawn for the sake of them, not real. Only a slice of bread per child. Then a ringing noise began to erupt into their ears. Screams spread like wildfires. The family began to rush into the little cabinet, behind a shelf. They all hurried one by one. Jen stood, patting their timid backs as they crawled in. Bella didn’t make it. The fire started to sneak its way into the house. Chairs broke. Floorboards exploded. Bella was hit by a red light. Elizabeth didn’t believe it at first. Then she saw her Bella scream and burn into ashes. 


The last thing that flickered in her mind was Bella’s hazel eyes. Shining with wet tears.


Marshall’s star was a gold one with specks of silver light. He was valiant and joyous. He would let the family dance in his golden rays. He was the sun. Then he left, thinking he’d come back home, but he didn’t.


Elizabeth held her wrinkled hands over his letter. She kept hold of it tenaciously. It was a part of Marshall, the only one she had.


“We’re doing pretty great here. I won’t write you a long letter cause we’ve little time. Everybody is so stern and in check, but I can see hope in this dark. I’m gonna be hope’s new recruit! I love you, Mother. So much. Please bake an apple cake when I come back. There is so much I want to tell you!


Love you,

Marsh.”


The next star was almost a little dull dot. It had a blueish shine and there was something about it that made it different. Besides all the other stars, it looked simple and true. It was different, even though it was dull. It shined brighter. It was a blush pink rose next to a bunch of ribboned dandelions.


The blushed rose, Sam, was brave. 


Two years back, when the pink sun was glimmering over their house. Elizabeth walked into Sam’s room. It was small with a gable window, letting in wintry light. Poor sam’s eyes were starting to water, his long eyelashes speckled with droplets. As soon as he saw his mother walk into the room, he began wiping his eyes and trying to eliminate the frown drawn on his face. He had round cheeks and golden curls sitting on top of his head like a nest. He was only eleven. 


“I love you Sam.” smiled Elizabeth, brushing her hands through his hair.


“I’m scared, Mommy.” his smile started to vanish and the tears came rolling down.


“Of course, you are. I love you for that. Remember to fight for your country, Sam. Whenever you miss me, I promise you, I'll be here.” Elizabeth held her long fingers over his small hand and lifted it to his heart. “Just remember that and everything will be okay.”


“I’m still scared. What will be up there Mama? I’ll miss you when I’m there.”


“Up there will be everything you love. The ripest of apples. The most vibrant flowers. A warm light that is always there to shine on you. Dad will be there and wrap you in his strong arms, but up there will be something more precious than anything on earth. Something so hard to find where we live. There’ll be peace. Plenty of it.”


Elizabeth wrapped her arms around the boy and the memory faded out once again.


A blue tear rolled down Elizabeth’s weathered face. She looked up at the sky and absorbed the shining light. She remembered the melodic voice of Bella and Marshall’s jolly smile. She remembered the tight hold of her last hug with Sam. She remembered all eight of her children, who were now stars. They were all soldiers. Some fought in the army bravely. Some fought with their smiles and hearts.


They were all her little warriors.


April 27, 2020 17:02

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4 comments

Simone T
22:28 May 06, 2020

Well written! The words made me feel things; the one true goal of any writer.

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ℤ ℍ☮️
04:37 May 07, 2020

Thank you! That was my goal.

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X Y
21:39 May 06, 2020

Beautifully written.

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ℤ ℍ☮️
04:38 May 07, 2020

I'm glad you think that.

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