“Is this what it’s like, my love?” Soren reached for the hand of Rhizah, his wife of thirty years, fighting the shiver of fear quivering his words.
“Don’t fret, Soren,” she replied softly, rubbing the swollen knuckles on his hand. “It’s not the most horrible thing to happen.”
His wife was born blind, so she was at quite peace with the dark. She was probably the most humble, trusting woman he’d ever known, especially since she’s had to depend on him to see for her for the past thirty-something years. He never been without sight, and the the past 48 hours of complete and utter blackness shaved his nerves raw.
Two days ago, the stars had fallen from the sky, and Maldonine, star primary, had just fizzled out. Their light source was gone, with no explanation of why. And with the major star’s disappearance, all star power had ceased. No television or news, no microwave or electric stove, no heat. He’d held is breath, hoping some random generator somewhere from years past would kick on and restore sanity to his life.
But it was a pipe dream. No one had generators anymore.
He and Rhizah and gone down into their basement and pulled her great grandmother’s quilts from bins so that they would be warmer at night, had pulled moth-pocked sweaters from the far recesses of their bedroom closet to layer during the day. Their flashlight had lost it’s star charge hours ago, and candles…he hardly remembered they existed, much less how to use them.
“I’m so lost, Rhizah.”
He could hear the smile in her voice. “But you’re not, my love. You’re right here, next to me.” A pause. “Let’s just take it one moment at a time.” She touched his shoulder. “I’m hungry. Let’s raid the pantry and do something creative for dinner.”
Was it even dinner time? He had no way of knowing, without his star-powered watch or digital star clock. He shoved away the panic again. “Like what?” Suddenly her touch was gone from his hand and the panic broke through. “Rhizah?!”
He quieted, took a deep breath. He heard the creak of the chair as her weight lifted from it. He discerned the creak of the floor a few feet to his left as she moved toward the kitchen. After many, many years of describing the world to her, Rhizah was now going to have to help him navigate this lightless world the way she had for so long.
“What sounds good?” The pantry door slid open with a familiar squeak.
“Meat. Hot meat and potatoes and biscuits.”
Rhizah laughed, and the sound was a balm to ease the uncertainty in his spirit. “How about canned tuna on crackers…” he heard the crackle of the wrapper, then, after a moment, detected the whoosing ‘pop’ of the fridge. Rhizah scrounged around in the fruit and veggie drawers, feeling what was in the bins. “…with spinach salad? Might as well use up what’s in the fridge before it goes bad. We’ve got some tomatoes and cucumbers you can cut up.”
The last time he’d had tuna was when he was small, maybe six or seven. It wasn’t a moose roast or baked turkey, but it would do. He wasn’t exactly a fan of salad, but he didn’t like to be wasteful, and it was healthy for him. Honestly, he wasn’t sure how he’d do cutting vegetables without seeing them, but he would try. Carefully. Very carefully.
He got up from his cushioned chair. “I’m coming, Rhizah.” One day at a time, until time ran out.
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