#76 Waiting

by Christine Ahern

From behind the waterfall the world looks curtained. My breath comes fast and blends with the spray. How long can I stay here? I have six granola bars and all the water I could ever need. I scoot to the back of the cave and find a patch of dry moss. Maybe a week.

“Barbie!” Distant but clear. “Come back, girl. It’s gonna be okay.”

Moonlight turns the curtain silver. I somehow expected the waterfall to turn itself down at night. But, it thunders on. And on.

I’m pressed against the wall, the dog pushing against my back. No. I’m not home. It’s not the dog. My eyes fly open and adjust to the dim light of the cave. Daddy always says to stay clear of caves. The woods has bears and bears love caves, he always says. I roll myself away from the warm mass and sit up. It’s a bear. But not a big bear. A cub. He squeaks and sniffs. He scrambles to his feet and we come face to face. He isn’t scary. He’s scared. “Go find your Mommy,” I say. “She’ll take care of you.”

Morning is still coming on when I walk in the back door. Daddy is asleep at the kitchen table. Did he mean it? Will it be okay? I touch my belly, my cub. “I’ll take care of you,” I whisper. I sit at the table and wait for this sleeping bear to wake up.

Wearing their anxiety disorders like overstuffed backpacks, Connie and Monique take a road trip from San Francisco to Sedona to find their Power. Connie’s anxiety-provoked obsessions direct their plans; Monique’s anxious need to be needed, complicates them.

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Anne R. Allen said...

I'm seeing a recurring bear theme in these stories. :-) I guess that's what you call a "meme". Love the dream bear and especially the "curtain" waterfall that seems to be a barrier between dream life and the real. You feel such compassion for the pregnant girl who has to retreat into her emotional cave.

Unknown said...

the comparison of bear and cub and father and child is well done. i can really feel for her as she sits there, waiting for him to awake. also i loved the waterfall.