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Candles in April

By Jamila Appleby

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Home > Archives > Volume 26 No.2 - Winter 2011/2012
 

This story has lived in me for more than 25 years. I was in the 7th grade. This is a time when how others see you is crucial to your existence. One beautiful spring day in April I came home from school. My mother was always home when I arrived in the afternoon, so I expected her to be in one of her two usual places: in the kitchen reading and watching television, or in her bedroom. However, as I was putting my things away, I noticed that the house had an unusual silence, a stillness.

My first thought was that perhaps my mother wasn’t home. As I went to investigate, I heard the rattling of the newspaper. I immediately had a sinking feeling. Before I could ask why the television was quiet, she said matter-of-factly, “Yep, it’s off.” The look on her face told it all.

I sighed deep and long as I sank into the couch. I looked at the clock. It read 9:25. I thought to myself, “So that’s when they cut the power off.” I asked my mother what we were going to do, what she was going to do.

“Well, we will have to get batteries and go find the flashlights, candles, and matches until I can figure something out. We’ll also have to get ice and coolers to keep the food cold. Don’t open the refrigerator too much. For now, we need to keep as much of the cold in as we can.”

We’d experienced this before, but it was usually a temporary situation, a matter of a few days or so. This time, three months went by until my mother “figured something out.” It was hard. During those months, life for me was a different experience—to say the least. It was different from the majority of my peers and certainly different from my teachers.

For the most part, school was my salvation. There were lights and people and sounds. I could be with my friends, although I remember wishing that I could go home with them. Every day, the final bell rang me back to reality.



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