Thriving in darkness

2014-12-10 13:18

The spark that lit the candle momentarily burst light into the room. It was cold for summer and an ominous mist moved in from the mountain. Together they huddled in the living room to access a ration of the candle’s light. Father wrote on sheets of paper and placed them neatly beside his stool one after the other. Jessica, the middle child, and an obvious teenager, knew that she was missing out on something and this made her restless. Mother was in the corner huddled in a rocking chair, not doing anything, not saying anything.

It had been hours since the sun had gone down for the night and the darkness was something they were used to be now. Every night when Mother made dinner before the evening settled in the family would get ready for candles and stories. Tonight, Father was writing; he had run out of stories to tell, and was creating fresh pages.

Johnathan, the eldest of the three children, was standing at the window peering into the black night that stretched far beyond his panorama. He no longer enjoyed father’s stories. He’d been listening to them for years, and was not surprised by father’s predictable twists and turns anymore. Little Jimmy, the youngest child, of course still hung on father’s lips like he was Oom Schalk Lourens telling tales of the Groot Marico.

“Dad, I’m so bored. I can’t do this anymore.” Jessica suddenly erupted. “Every single night we do the same thing.”

“Well my dear, you don’t have to listen to my stories. By all means, go and sit in your room or watch the stars on the porch,” father replied.

Jessica didn’t feel like looking at the stars or sitting in her room, so she just shuffled and leaned back disconsolately in her chair.

It was nearing 9pm and mother’s eyes were falling. There was no chance a story was going to happen tonight. Father was writing as fast as he could but he was nowhere near the end of his dreamed up tale.

Then, just as if the angel Gabriel had descended upon their homestead, the lights came on.

“Whoop, whoop! OMG, now I can charge my phone,” Jessica yelled as she raced to her bedroom. Little Jimmy followed in hot pursuit and Johnathan jogged to the study to fetch his laptop and disappear for the rest of the night.

Father and mother looked at each other, they smiled. “Coffee anyone?” Mom asked sarcastically.

“Don’t worry dear,” Mom said. “I read the loadshedding schedule, we’re good for another few months. Finish writing your story. Tomorrow from 6-9 we’re back in the 1800s.”

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