Rays of Hope: Chapter 24

It’s so nice to have people reading along while I have fun with Ray and Marla. And, thanks for the comments.

If you’re here for the first time, and you’re interested in starting at Chapter 1 of Rays of Hope, click here.

It’s a warm but dismal day today. Rainy and wet. I think of Marla and Ray with only bits of acidy rain to give them hope.

Chapter 24

“I’m sure,” says Marla. She straightens from her microscope as she clicks a disapproval with her tongue at Trumble.

“The pH is higher. I checked and rechecked.”

Ray can almost feel her ears come to attention as she pretends to sleep on her cot in the corner of Trumble’s home and laboratory. Acting distracted, asleep, or bored turns out to be Ray’s best way of gathering information. A fly on the wall is something she imagines. She’s never actually seen a fly.

“If you’re sure,” Trumble says. “That means progress. Any more signs of life?”

“No, but that doesn’t mean anything. A stray dandelion would be snatched up as soon as it’s seen. Even though waiting for seeds is the most prudent action.”

“Few have patience,” Trumble’s eyebrows knit together until the lines between them are deep enough to hide a seed.

“I thought I saw some Brownian action.” Marla pinches the bridge of her nose. “That could mean anything.”

“Or nothing.”

“When are we going to Taedan’s?” Ray is up and standing between the two adults before her brain makes the decision.

Marla clicks her tongue before she ujiyas her breaths, eyeballs moving under her closed eyelids.

“What are you looking at under there?” Ray says. She holds Marla’s face between her palms and lightly presses her nose against her aunt’s.

Marla places her hands on Ray’s cheeks and opens her eyes. Crossed eyes looking into crossed eyes making them both giggle.

“I suppose it’s time,” says Trumble. His smile changes the contour of his face. His eyebrows semi-circle toward his scruff-white hair and the lines between them migrate to parentheses around his eyes.

“Let’s get our game plan together. Our questions in order of importance first, and then in order of how we want to ask them,” says Marla.

“I did that already,” says Ray, pulling out her notebook.

Marla and Trumble burst in full-out laughter, leaving Ray a bit puzzled and delighted at the same time.

Trumble’s place seems almost sunny to Ray, which is impossible. For one thing, Trumble has no windows. Besides, Ray has never seen sunshine, except in pictures. Still, she imagines rays of light coming through the sky, warming and dissolving the darkness. Her insides feel like that, warm and dissolving and weightless. And something else that she will begin to feel more and more often as the weeks unfold: The dizziness of anticipation mixes with the fear of the what-if.

A new list begins to sprout in Ray’s head. One that must wait until a quieter time. For now, she turns all her attention to the smile on Marla’s face and the giddiness in he voice and the way Trumble lightly touches her aunt’s back and places his hand over hers. Marla’s smile occasionally transform to a scowl, and then back again as she scratches in her notebook.

Ray searches her memory to another time her aunt seemed so happy. No that’s not it, thinks Ray. Hopeful. Marla seems hopeful.

What’s going to be on Ray’s What-If list? And when was the last time Ray saw Marla hopeful?

Wait, does Marala have more than a professional relationship with Trumble?

What’s with all this giddiness?

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Until next Friday, when we’ll both learn more.


Reading is like food for the soul. u003cbru003eWriters like to eat biscuits, too.

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