Of Children and Other Natural Disasters

(Author’s note:  This is one of my earlier pieces.  Although it’s not dark, it is a bit tragic.  I wrote it to sound a bit like a myth, so it definitely has a different feel to it than my other stuff.  I hope you enjoy it.)

Way up in the heavens, far beyond where the eye can see, there lives an old married couple who love each other very much. Theirs is a love that began with the dawn of creation and has endured for one millennium after another.  Each is bound to the other, and each is certain that without the other, they would cease to exist.

But like any married couple that has been together a long time, sometimes they get bored.  Not with each other, mind you, but with the routine that sometimes is marriage.  One day, in the midst of this boredom, one made the comment to the other.

“There’s nothing to do,” she said to him.  “And we never have any fun.  We need something different, something exciting.”

“What would you like to do, my wife?” he said.  She was as dear to him as anything in his life, and when she was unhappy, he was unhappy.

“I don’t know,” she said sadly, and her voice weighed heavily with sadness.  It made the sky dark and gloomy and clouds gather together.  Then suddenly, she had an idea.  “I know, why don’t we have children?”  Instantly her tone brightened, and she graced the heavens with a radiant light.

He was not so sure, however.  “Why would we do that?”

“Don’t you want something to love?  Something to cherish forever and ever?”

“Isn’t that why I have you, my dearest?”  he teased.

She pouted, and crossed her arms.  “Don’t make fun.  You know what I mean!”  Now she was spoiled, petulant, and cried tears that fell to the earth as a million tiny raindrops.

He was unimpressed with her display.  “We are so old, my dear.  I don’t know if it’s a good idea.”

“What does age matter when you are the master of time itself, husband?”  Her voice boomed and for a moment, the world trembled beneath their feet.

He sighed, stroking his long, white beard.  He hated to deny her the passions of her heart, not only because he simply wanted her to be content, but also because he knew she also had a terrible temper and could unleash it at a moment’s notice.  Her fury was renowned the world over.  He decided to acquiesce.  “Alright, my dear, so be it.  We will have children, and happiness will rein our home.”

She squealed her delight, and when she kissed him, and later made love to him, it was a fiery, hot passion that was a heat wave for all the world to bear.

 ~~~~~~~~~~

          When she gave birth, it was a mystical and wondrous occasion, not only because it was a miracle—as birth often is—but also because she gave birth to triplets.  Three rambunctious children, two boys and a girl, and they were ecstatic.  Now she was Mother, he was Father, and it was a great honor for them both.  Their days were filled from morning to night, and as the years passed, boredom slipped into that other land of dreams and memories.  They developed a magical bond with their children, as parents do, and swore to keep them linked to them for an eternity.

Each child had a distinct personality.  The oldest child, a boy, liked to jump and rumble and roll, shaking and trembling while he laughed merrily.  The middle child, the other boy, liked to play in the water.  He loved to splish and splash and make waves.  He would spin and spin in the water, and when he finally came out, he would drop water everywhere.  The youngest child, their little girl, was often quiet and still.  But she loved to dance, and at a moment’s notice, she would twirl and twist as fast as possible, her arms spread wide, until the dizzying speed would tire her out and she would just collapse.  Three sweet, adorable children, and Mother and Father loved them all.

But children being what they are, the three offspring were constantly looking for ways to get into mischief, and one day, while playing in the front sky, they found a chance.

“Look, there’s an opening!  We can go down!” said the oldest boy.

“Think we’ll get caught?” asked his younger brother.

“Not if we act fast,” his older brother replied.

“Mother says we are not allowed! We have to be supersized!” the little girl cried.

“I think you mean supervised, you dummy,” the elder sibling corrected meanly.

Tears filled the little girl’s eyes.  “I’m not a dummy!  I’m telling Mommy!”

“Fine, go tell.  I’m going,” he replied.  He turned to his brother. “You coming?”

“You bet!”  Together, they dropped through the opening.

Their sister only hesitated for a moment.  “Hey, wait for me!”  And down through the hole she went as well.

But as they fell through the air, something happened.  The mystical bond which connected them to their parents and to each other broke suddenly.  Now forever disconnected, they would land on earth very far apart, and never see or talk with each other again.

Of course, once on earth, they panicked.  The oldest boy, who landed deep under the earth’s crust, began to jump and shake and tremble.  He wanted to jump his was back to his home in the sky, and although he cracked the surface, the earth’s crust held him fast.  When finally he tired himself out, he cried.  His cries were quakes and aftershocks that would be felt for miles around, signaling his anger and frustration at his failed attempt.  When he regained his strength, he vowed to try again and again. With each new attempt, mountains moved and the lands shifted, but it would be to no avail.

The younger brother, who landed in the deep waters of the ocean, spluttered and splashed about in fear until he suddenly gained momentum.  As he spun faster and faster, he made the water surge to carry him to his home above.  He felt certain he would make it.  But, overconfident and miscalculating, he hit land before he could attain a final upward thrust and instead came crashing down on the land, flooding the coast and plains with his failure.  Frustrated but determined, he headed back out to sea to try again.

The little girl, who had landed on dry land, sat still in shock and with grief.  All that she loved was lost to her forever, and she had no idea how to get back home.  Resigned to her reality, she would sit quietly for months at a time.   But then suddenly, she would rise, and in a fit of anger, she would spin and turn and twirl and twist, faster and faster, moving across the land as a winding, violent tantrum, until her energy was spent and the winds of her anger were no more.  Then she would sit again, sad and contemplative, until the next burst again would take her again.

The children’s parents, watching from up above, were devastated by what had happened.  Mother cried uncontrollably, bring torrential rains upon the land.  She begged and pleaded to those more powerful than even her to let her children come home, but her cries fell to deaf ears.  In her fury, thunder boomed and lightening cracked, but it was to no avail.  Father did his best to console her.

“I promise you that time will not stand still while our children are away from us,” he assured her. “I will see to that.”

Under his command, time marches on, stopping for no man while he waits for his children to return.  Every storm is a cry from Mother, a lament for her lost children.  And for every earthquake, hurricane, or tornado that devastates this earth, one of their children is trying to find his or her way home.

COPYRIGHT 2012 © ELIZABETH MICHAUD JOHN.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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