Her life wasn’t about drugs for she never fell upon that scene. Neither was it about alcohol nor willful neglect. No, for Athesia Greene hard times crashed upon her as a result of uncontrollable depression, an illness that teetered on the borders of maddening psychosis. She felt she wasn’t completely crazy yet, but was getting there day by day, pushing forward into a scary world of horrific dreams and voices. There were voices from the past. Voices from her daughter during her auto accident as it was t-boned by a semi-truck at a stop light. She could still hear the screams as she was ejected from her car and witnessed her car and her child burn while begging for help from her mother. However, there was to be no help. Her vehicle exploded into a raging inferno that destroyed her beloved daughter. There was nothing she could do but watch and witness the terrible aversion and now relive the event for the tragedy was inescapable from her memory. Athesia wished it had been her rather than her child who was dead.
And though today was Christmas Eve, she didn’t feel anything special about it. Even the Florida Times-Union, a local paper omitted the fact the day was anything special, listing only that it was December the 24th, nothing otherwise in particular.
By two that afternoon, a nor ‘easterly pushed in; the gusty winds drove a chilling rain that permeated the very core of her bones. More bad news arrived when she discovered her stash of canned goods and clothes had been stolen from her secret spot.
As darkness creeped in after three that afternoon, the stinging wind from the advancing storm clung to her wet goose-pimpled skin. Pushing home the point of agony, the odorous dirt from surrounding buildings cast a tormenting glare from the blazing headlights of travelling cars near Main Street. Even the vibrations from the pavement felt like stabbing pangs and the garbled sounds from hurried people leaving their office buildings seemed brutal and uncaring. Truly for Athesia Greene, life sucked.
Behind her, she felt a howling wind rush by and then just as ominously, a heated lightning bolt blasted her prone to the ground.
Minutes later, a small voice spoke to her, “Are you alright? Are you okay?”
A trickle of warm blood dripped from Atehias’s mouth, but otherwise, she felt uninjured.
A little girl who had spoken to her said, “The lightning took out the power. Everyone’s coming outside for fresh air.”
Now the atmosphere was calm. The air was clean and crisp and no longer harsh-more like the drying, cool effect of air conditioning. An early bright moonlight lit the area and there: a little girl’s dark brown eyes, radiant as they were, stared lovingly at Athesia.
“Let’s get you up off the sidewalk,” said the little girl.
Standing and gathering her bearings, Athesia said, “Where’s your parents? Who are you?”
“My initials are AG” said the girl.
“No, that can’t be true. I’m sure of it for that’s what I called my daughter,” said Athesia. The girl stood silent as Athesia traced her unbelieving eyes over the outline of the girl.
Her hair was well-groomed, black, long and wooly, unusually long for a girl only perhaps eight years old. She possessed a sweet and innocent cherubic face that glowed a magnificent sparkle, a sparkle noticeable even in the contrast of the yellow hued light of the bright emitting moon.
As people began gathering around the sidewalk, they conversed with one another. Athesia noticed they were now different-different now they endured the absence of electricity. Now, they were actually forced to swarm together, talk together, something rare for the times. Sure, some remained glued to their smart phones, but most interacted with each other and discovered life beyond their normal routines as now, they were no longer just strangers, but people. Real people.
“You were a good mom,” the girl said to Athesia.
Athesia was taken aback by the comment. “But, but how could you know that?”
“Because you were kind and good to me,” the girl said without hesitation. “I love you.”
“Who? What is going on?” Athesia begged as she sobbed with uncontrollable tears.
“It’s Christmas Eve.” The girl spoke. “This is a special night and I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas.”
Athesia’s nervous spirit, overcome with shock and awe began to understand. Sure. She was hearing voices, but now these voices were good voices, not the normal voices, the horrors from the past. Clearly, and impossibly, her daughter was standing there before her and now, Athesia cared about nothing else. This was good.
“How long has she been laying there?” a policeman asked a witness.
One lady suggested her death was caused by lightning as she pointed to the sky and others who were gathered outside agreed.
Moments later, the power returned and the workers began to return to their duties. On the way to normality, one to the other broke their habits of cold seclusion and embraced their new founded friends on the sidewalk, and as they slowly exited back into exile, they joyfully wished each other a Merry Christmas.