Word count: 500 Singing Away the Rain
Dear Rupert 67A,
Your letter found me today. Communications aren’t always reliable here on Earth, especially in the River Region. I appreciate your efforts to locate me.
Yes, I remember you. To say I’ve been haunted daily by that event is neither true nor false. Perhaps ‘reminded’ is more accurate. Being locked in the closet, missing the sun’s emergence, actually had a positive outcome. Besides speeding my family’s return to Earth, it taught me valuable lessons about perverse human-nature. Nobody pretended to be my friend, yet I didn’t expect the hostility or cruelty of your actions. Trust is now something I bestow only after it is earned. I knew it was you, which hurt particularly, because I suspected you had a crush on me. Pulling my hair, kicking my chair, taunting me at recess, belonged to the normal “courtship” of young boys and girls. But you also knew I wouldn’t join in music unless we were singing about the sun, so you always requested “Sunlight on the Prairie”, though you couldn’t have known what that was, and my favorite, “Sunshine Yellow”, a color never seen on Venus. These songs saved me. I secretly thought of you as my only friend. Your betrayal was profound. “Why?” I wanted to ask. Had I done something to make you hate me? The words wouldn’t come, though. The song hiding in my heart—my spirit as you call it—suffocated and died in that closet. It was years before singing again became part of my life.
The other thing your terrible act did for me was to make me appreciate the everyday events we so often take for granted: The sun rising and setting. The color blue. Birdsong. The comforting aroma of toast in the morning. The ability to enter and leave a room unhindered. I like to think I live life more fully because of this.
You mention my reaction to water on my head—showers were an embodiment of my nightmares—Venus’s constant rain pursuing me into sleep, drowning me, burning me like acid. Screams—my screams—awoke me every morning. Only the sun could dissipate so much water. You couldn’t understand. For several months after returning to Earth, the sight of cloudy skies, the drumming of rain on the roof, sent me into depression. Gradually, the sun worked its magic. My rhythms returned. Song eased my heart. I no longer fear rain. On Earth, it is a temporary condition.
No, I was no better than Venus’s children. Where you envied, you should have pitied. Better to have never known the sun, like you, than to have lost it forever, as it seemed. Glimpsing it would have done nothing to ease my pain. I realized this, before you unlocked the door.
I now work in relocation of returning Earthlings, and rehabilitating those whose life-experiences have left them traumatized. Happily, you apparently have no such problems, though even daily sun takes getting used to. I wish you well on Earth.
In peace, Margot