It's mind-blowing. And, not in the good old pay your money, get your ticket, stop to buy popcorn and a soda and probably a Kit Kat or one of those obscene boxes of butterscotch-nut clusters and then make your way inside to plop down in a chair that's thickly upholstered and swings back and forth to allow for the tromping past of other people and settle your bones comfortably to watch the latest 3-D Big Screen Movie kind of way. Nope. Oh, you got surround sound and huge images, you sure do. But not for the price of a ticket. No, the price for this show is your way of life. And it isn't stadium theater, either. It's reality. It's the sun.
It's been the sun for days and days. Seventeen of them now. In all that time, the sun has never set. Or rather, it loops through the sky so rapidly that if you aren't seeing the sun itself you're seeing its blurred after-glow. which is only for less than hour, over there in the west, before there it is again. The sun. Popping its red and fiery face up over there in the east. Back again. Around the world and back again. In no time.
On a continuous marathon. Around and around the globe the sun goes. Quick time. Or maybe Earth is spinning around the sun. Bella doesn't know. If she ever did know, she's forgotten. And what difference does it make anyway? It's been going on for too long now. This new reality. When she thinks about it, really concentrates, last time she saw a night sky was in July. After sunset, about 8:30 PM. That was the last time.
Time. Time doesn't matter any more now. It's gone all weird as well. Everything. Seasons -- they're messed up if things don't go back to normal soon. Tides? Oh, don't even go there. All the things on and in the water? Probably dead. Maybe dead. Mother Nature has decided to show humanity what Global Warming is, for real.
Bella shakes her head and pulls the heavy drapes closed over already the closed blinds. No matter the time, all blinds and shades are kept drawn. Not only is the sun super-hot now, but its light is super-bright. Like having the sun aimed right at you. She doesn't remember the sun ever being so bright, giving off so much light. Or heat. Not in her lifetime. Not normal sun -- only there in daytime, gone at night. Isn't the sun the reason it's called day? It is, isn't it? At least that's how Bella thinks it is. Or was.
Nighttimes. Nights. Lord, how she misses them. Such a simple thing, you'd think. No. It was more that it was so simple you never did think. Like how your eyes that blink without you telling them. Nights were like that. They just came. Followed on the heels of day. Nothing you had to do about it. Nothing you could do. Now there's nothing you can do about nights being gone and the sun being all there is. All the time. Still the sun. Still, just the sun.
She doesn't care what time it is. She's going to get into bed. And go to sleep. When she's asleep she has the most wonderful dreams. Because, in her dreams, things are back to normal. That's all she wants right now. To have proper days and proper nights, at least for a bit. Sleep comes easily to her, which is a blessing.
Often when she closes her eyes now, she thinks of life before this. When it was all about people. What they did and what they said. People-things. People-stuffs. What Myrtle had to say about Dicky and Joyce, and what Tim told her about Alice's job and Alice's boss, and how Bella saw Wayne last week and wondered if the woman he was with was his new love or just one of the junior techs at his job, and how her housekeeper fell and she had called the son to let him know and his wife had bitched at her about it, and how Mr. Samuel's dog had had four pups and he had given one to his grandson, which made his daughter mad, and how Bella had found out her landlord was raising the rent on the people who lived across the way but not on her. And that was just about her small circle.
There'd been all the people and things in the news. On TV or the radio. Or in blogs or on face book or in that tweeting or twittering, which you can't do any of anymore. She doesn't understand it. It's gone all cockeyed. Nothing electronic works now. The sun has blown it all out. Something about atmospherics. Some - - -. Some some things. She doesn't know. Communications are all gone. So everything about people and politics and athletes and stars and about crimes and medical research and wars and tragedies and good things and awful things and all the dumb unnecessary silly stuff -- everything that not so long ago made up all of human life -- it just isn't any more. There's no way to know about it anyway. It's exhausting just to think of all that. What had been her life. Been human life. Everyone's life. Not now. Now everything's wrong. Because of the sun and what it's doing.
Leaving the living room, she made her way to the bedroom. She doesn't need lights. She doesn't have them, but she doesn't need them. No one does. It's bright all the time. Now everyone uses heavy drapes to pull across their windows, even when their shades and blinds are already down. To shut out the light from the sun. For awhile. To pretend. Only you can't, really. Not when you're using candles. Everyone's using candles again. Fancy that. Used to be a treat. Decorations. Just for a fancy dinner. Now it's necessity. If you want to escape the sun and still be able to see. Candles. Who'd've thought.
Lord, it is hot. How she'd love to throw open a window. It gets so stuffy with things closed up all the time like this. But open a window? That just lets in the relentless light. And more heat. When it's hot already. And dry! That's another thing. Clouds have all but disappeared. At least the kind that used to hang low and build up in banks. The kind that brought rain. No rain for nearly five months now. And she lives in a part of the country where fog and rain had been the norm. Now there's no fog. She loved fog. And rain. Loved the smells rain would bring out. Of buildings. And streets. Up from the earth. Down from the trees.
She would not cry. She would NOT. Life has gone bad, like an apple with a rotten spot in it. But she won't cry. She's cried all her tears and it hasn't changed a thing. She sheds her clothes quickly and, pulling a gown on, climbs into bed.
The town has put a limit on water usage. Nothing's piped any more. No electricity, no pumps. Only got the town wells now. There's been no rain. And unless it -- whatever it is -- changes, there'll be no snow either. Water. Water will be a real issue. Long before this thing with the sun happened, a few years back, there had been talk about hauling ice floes or some such down from the arctic. When water supplies out west were getting low. She always wondered if they were hauling ice down from the arctic, wouldn't it be frozen ocean water? What would be the sense of that? Salty water. No, there must be frozen fresh water. Mustn't there? She doesn't know.
She doesn't know much of anything any more. The only way you can know anything is person to person. But no one can stay out in the sun for long. Too hot. Too bright. So people don't gather. They don't need to. What's happened is that their world has got broken. She doesn't understand it, but what difference does it make whether she does or not? What isn't there, isn't there. That's what you have to live with. There's no more arguing over big government or no big government. There may as well not be a government at all. Not any more. What could it do? No. People are on their own now. With the sun. Just the sun. Still the sun.