Wednesday, May 3, 2017

An Orange Comet Blazes Across the Sky

#MayYouWriteLikeTheFool day three
Prompt: An orange comet blazes across the sky
Notes: This prompt brought forth a vivid memory I had as a young teenager, and as I considered it, and rolled it around in my mind, I realized just how much significance and emotion charged that moment...


I am thirteen years old. We've come to spend a week in a rented cottage along North Carolina's southern shores for the second time in two years. Red is an old college friend of dad's, and his kids are about the same age as me and Jessica. They grew up on the southern coast, and I admire the way their pale blonde hair contrasts with the brownness of their skin, tanned after hours and days and weeks and months of being outdoors.

My half sister is here, too, and her husband. They are fun to be around; they like to play drinking games, and the raucous laughter reaches into every corner of this sandy, beach-side house. I don't know where I fit, exactly. Partly that is because my mother isn't here. In the long stretches of the year that led up to this visit my life changed quite a lot: my parents divorced; my father remarried someone new and unfamiliar. Last year when we visited this same house, my parents were together, and suddenly this year they are not. I watch as my dad and his new wife laugh comfortably together, making jokes and small talk with other couples, as if it has always been this way. I watch from the edge of the room, uncertain and quiet.
Gaian Tarot ~ Joanna Powell Colbert
It is night, and I call my mother. She is far away, but through the phone her voice is warm and comforting. She feels close. She tells me that there will be a meteor shower this very night, and that I should examine the sky for its evidence. After we hang up I make my way to the back door of the house, to the steps that lead out into the inky blackness where the beach meets the ocean waves. I sit down and wait, and gaze up at the stars.

Just then, an orange comet blazes across the sky. I am filled with deep delight, and cry out in surprise. I leap to my feet and run into the house, its inner cavern lit up with lanterns and the shining eyes of semi-intoxicated adults in the midst of alcoholic antics. I am usually soft spoken, but this time I shout loudly into the crowd: "There is a meteor shower happening right now!" Most don't register my presence, but there is one woman who listens, and follows me outside to see for herself. She watches the sky light up with moving stars, and runs back into the house to gather the others.

A few moments later we are all gathered outside in the deep dark. We are ageless. We sit transfixed, the rush of waves a backdrop as golden slashes of light cross the sky, again, and again.

I am happy. It is more than the happiness of this breathtaking celestial show. I am happy because I can feel my mother's presence here. Though she and my father are no longer together, though a stranger has taken her place in this vacation house, it is my mother that quieted the revelry. It is the mysterious, palpable, subtle, profound power of my mother that ushered these gregarious personalities out into the awe-filled breath of night to bear witness to this shower of fire and light.


  1. Loved the ending Olivia! What a great gift to share with those people and now with us, thank you ❤

  2. I'm loving your responses to these prompts. What a wonderful memory! And a perfect fit for that card, a wonder of nature :)

    1. Thanks, Chloe! I seem to have dropped off the prompts as I became quite caught up in work and kids' birthday celebrations! But I want to continue even after the challenge officially ends ;)