It almost always came in the early morning, just when the skies began to awaken. The clouds that had made their way east through the night formed engorged and threatening gray blobs in the sky. Behind them would be the glistening wet streets and refreshed flora. Sometimes though, there would be destruction. Some of it collateral; some would remain unseen and misunderstood.
There was hardly anything visible to announce the arrival of a change, but the boy knew. He knew it as sure as there were toes on the ends of his feet below the covers. Just because he couldn’t see them in the dark and under cover didn’t mean they were not there. They were there, and he was also sure it would storm soon. He hoped and prayed it would. Without the wind and the rain, the barometric pressure would continue to drop while the pulsing, throbbing pressure in his head would increase.
He whispered a silent prayer to St. Gemma who had suffered so much more than he. Sometimes it helped to hold a little conversation with the Patron Saint. If anyone knew he conversed with the saints in the darkness before the storms, they might send him back to the psychiatrist. He concentrated, closed his eyes again and focused on relaxing. He waited in the dark for the storms to pass.
Teetering on the edge of darkness was the feeling that this one could go either way. He had stopped guessing and refused to budge until there was some indication that he would be safe in opening his eyes to the morning. Morning would come with demands to “get ready” regardless of how he felt. School was there to be reckoned with and the teachers had their expectations. Never mind the fact that, on such a morning, it took Herculean efforts to open his eyes more than just a slit.
He knew himself to be stronger than most. Sure, there were athletes with more brute strength, academics with more intelligence, and artists with far more discipline than he could muster, but endurance was something he knew of. It took a mighty dose of endurance to weather these storms. Finding the breakpoint, catching the wave out of pain, this was his specialty. To find the crack in the wall that would allow him to slip through was an art form unto itself. Allowing himself to relax and succumb to the powers that were far stronger than he allowed him moments of release. Each moment, mentally tallied on one side of the pain scale or the other told him whether or not it would be safe to take a peek.
The roaring of the storm began to give way to the gentler dripping sounds of raindrops on roses so he smiled a bit at the insistence of the kitten attached to the whiskers intently nosing her way past his tightly drawn covers. It was an indication that morning had broken…if he was brave enough to embrace it. Slowly, tentatively, he loosened his fingers from the cover’s edge, the light began to seep past his cozy armaments. Today, the storm would not take him prisoner; he was free to let the light in.
Beth is a freelance writer from Grayson, GA. Her work has appeared extensively in The Gwinnett Citizen and several ghost-written local publications as well as on her blog. She is currently a video editor and content writer for NightGlass Media Group. A Little at a Time first appeared on the Flash Fiction site, The Five Hundred and was published in the anthology, We Wrote a Book (2016).