Rays of Hope: Chapter 29

Impressions of Springtime

COVID-19 is raging. Almost 3,000 deaths every day now. As of today, the leading cause of death in the United States. Here’s a link to the tool developed by professors at Georgia Tech. Maybe it will help you make the decision to stay home.

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

I need a little help with May His Tribe Increase. If any of my readers are in a mixed Catholic:Jewish marriage, please send me a message. Also, if you know a Black person who was in WWII or remembers stories, I could really use your help. Ephraim and his brother, Thomas will be forever thankful for you helping me get it right.

As for Ray and Marla, I still have so many questions. Like, the fresh water in Lake Michigan disappeared? No way. That’ll have to wait. Today, Alice calls.

Chapter 29

“I love your mother,” Taedan slumps over a lab bench, head in hands.”I promised her I would only nourish the changes nature gave us.”

“You said that, already.” Ray pulls away from Marla and rests a hand on Taedan’s back. Without thinking she rubs tiny clockwise circles on his back. “What do you mean, you love my mother? As if she’s not gone.”

“I promised Alice I’d always take care of you. That I’d keep you as close to your aunt as she was.” Taedan stutters through sobs. “At least that part I managed.” He turns to Ray, her blue eyes ablaze under a furrowed brow, a clone of her mother’s in deep questioning. “I never stopped loving her.”

“Well, at least you succeeded at something,” Trumble makes no attempt to cover his angry sarcasm.

“You did the right thing,” Marla took Ray’s free hand in both of her. “She belongs with me. As you said, you’re not equipped to raise a child.”

Marla’s words are cold and even, almost robotic. Ray recoils, searching her aunt’s face for the meaning behind the words. From somewhere deep in her memory, she remembers someone saying, the eyes are windows to the soul. Always look at the eyes for meaning. Marla’s eyes stay steely. But there was something off about the pace of her blinking. Erratic.

“What are you hiding?” Ray watches Marla’s face. But, the question could be for any one of the adults. “What are all of you hiding?” The one true north question hangs in the air, the gurgle of the aquaponics garden the only sound, until a frog ribbits onto a lettuce leaf.

In the near silence, Ray forms a careful question. One not unlike those her own aunt often uses. One that gives no wiggle room for interpretation. One that assumes information yet nebulous.

“Why would a father abandon his daughter?”

A collective gasp seems to suck all sound transmission out of the air. Confusion muddles Ray’s brain as what seems like a scrum of people grab each other with indiscernible motives of aggression or protection.

“It wasn’t like that,” Trumble steps forward. He pulls Marla’s clawing hands away from Ray and holds them to his heart.

“I didn’t understand her then,” he continues. “She missed Alice more than you can imagine. And she loved Ray as if she were her own.”

“You lost yourself in your work.” Marla clenches her fists under Trumble’s grip. “What you were doing was illegal. How would it be for Ray to first lose her mother and then have you jailed?” She clenches her jaw so tightly that the words almost spit out between her teeth.

“I wanted to fix things,” Taedan says. He lifts his tear-streaked face from his hands. “For Alice. I never meant Ray to stay with you forever.”

Ray’s circles on Taedan’s back widen and stop. Thoughts spin like the cotton candy in her head. Nebulous information seeding and transforming to nondescript webs, getting thicker and airier as she watches the adults argue and plead. She feels as if she’s looking at them from outside the scene and all that is truly real is the cotton candy of thoughts twirling large in her mind. One thing is undeniable.

The truth. Her father is here. And he is Taedan.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. I skipped last week and made tons of candy instead.

Interesting that Trumble was the first to step forward.

Wow! Lots of drama this week. I hope you are enjoying Ray’s journey.

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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