©1998 by sunstruck
The sun was beating down on the body below it, as it had been doing, for as long as one can remember. The body was blending in with the ground around it, almost indistinguishable. To the sun it made no difference. One was the same as the other to it.
The body turned out to be a woman. Dried out through years of working in this god-awful heat. Prematurely bent over, her body browned from the sun and the dust which used to be rich earth. The lines crisscrossing her face matched the lines cracked open in the ground that hadn’t tasted water for however long.
Water hadn’t touched her skin either since it was too precious to waste on mundane matters. The woman bathed each minute, hour and day in the dirt blown at her by the hot breeze and what little sweat her body could produce.
Gnarled fingers scratched at the dirt hoping to open up enough space to plant one of the few seedlings she had tenderly cared for and preserved. It was a scraggly line which she’d managed to plant so far. One day, she prayed, they’d keep growing and produce delicacies which she could sell, then move and get out of this hell she’d been existing in.
Exhaustion was her only companion anymore. The woman had never felt so tired as she was now. She could vaguely remember being able to lift her arms and twirl about without any thought. Now, to move her arms and fingers took great concentration. One joint at a time. One muscle at a time. It seemed it was taking more and more effort, more concentration than she’d ever had before. The weight was pressing down on her. Hampering her breathing. Each breath was a gasp, shallow, and unforgiving. As was the sun, unforgiving.
The clouds never come to drift by the sun any more. What the sun had said to them is in the past now. Forgotten. The clouds remember, though, and take heed. Only the woman and the sun are left. Alone and together.
Lightheadedness came upon the woman. Her exhaustion was taking its toll on her. At this instant in time, she finally did what she’d promised herself she’d never do. She gave up hope. Crying out in anguish, the woman raised her head towards the sun.
A bright light struck her in the face. Its glare penetrating her eyes to the back of her head. The woman barely raised her arms to shield her face. Cool, salty liquid trickled into the corner’s of her mouth. Her swollen tongue lapped at her lips, sweeping the precious contents into the back of her throat where it laid for a second until she managed to swallow. Her tongue kept lapping until there wasn’t anything left.
The bright light slowly faded so the woman carefully lowered her arms. Peaking through the slits of her eyes and seeing no danger, she opened her eyes fully.
What had a minute before been her misshapen limbs were now straight and strong. Her dried brown skin was youthful and fair once more. The woman’s fingers were slender and well shaped. The crookedness in them had gone as if they’d never been anything but what they are now. She raised her hands to her face without thought. Touching the clean, soft skin of her cheeks and chin she wondered at this miracle that’d been owed to her for years.
The woman raised her head up to curse the sun who’d tried to destroy her but failed. As she looked straight at her nemesis, the bright glare returned piercing her eyes a second time. Groaning in agony, she bowed down, her head almost in the hole she’d barely scraped open.
Finally recovering, the woman slowly straightened up. Or more accurately, she begged each muscle and joint to lift her head back up, then her back next. It took a few moments for them to obey, grudgingly. She stared in momentary disbelief at her gnarled hands and twisted arms. Lifting her fingers to her face, she felt the dust filled cracks in her skin.
What was new this time were faint traces of tear tracks down her cheeks to the corners of her mouth. The woman realized what had happened. She was tempted to look at the sun in wry appreciation but decided it had had too many victories over her today.
for the first time in a long time a smile broke out on her face. Her dried,
cracked lips, unused to the bittersweet moment, split open. Uncaring of
this fresh pain, the woman bent back over and began scratching out the
rest of the hole as blood dripped from her broken lips down into her hope's
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