“If the damned sun would just come out.”

“Helen, it’s Nebraska. It’s winter. It’s how it is.”

“I want out of here.”

“But my job is here.”

“I want to go back to Colorado, live nearer my family. I can’t take one more winter like this.” To give her her due, she’d already lost her mind once. Completely understandable she wouldn’t want to lose it again.

To make her happy, Dad put in for a transfer, but he didn’t want to return to Colorado. He had some pretty awful memories of the place (along with some good ones). He’d lived there as a kid with his mom and sister while his dad was in jail for manslaughter. They’d lived with his mom’s sister and her husband and son, and the husband was an abusive shit, no other way to describe him. It had been a bleak two years for my dad, just a little guy at the time, not that his own dad was any kind of good father, either, but…

It was strange that memory held his mind rather than the other Colorado memories of graduate school and starting a family, but people are odd.

“Oh Bill! That’s wonderful! We always wanted to live in Colorado Springs!”

NORAD in Colorado Springs, a huge Air Force installation inside one of the mountains near Colorado Springs. Cheyenne Mountain. Among their many duties, they track the progress of Santa Claus around the world every Christmas.

The family left the day after movers came and packed up the house. Aunt Martha flew out and drove back with us so there were two drivers. Mom didn’t feel adequate to the task of driving on the Interstate. She’d only had a license a couple of years and was basically terrified.

The sun shone the whole way across Nebraska. We stopped in Wray, Colorado to celebrate and to buy gas. We got Cokes from the machine and stood in the relentless dry October sunshine drinking from bottles we then put in the rack on the side of the Coke machine when we were done.



I was 14. I missed my first boyfriend, Rex, and had no idea he’d already started going out with my best friend. Whenever “Cherish” came on the radio I thought of Rex and yearned.



6 thoughts on “Sunshine

  1. Cherish seems to have been the yearning song of many people back in those good ole’ days. Not MY yearning song. I was more a Johnny Mathis kind of gal, but I did have the utterly abusive father and totally dysfunctional family dynamics. Like money in the bank. You either become an artist or a criminal … or not.

    • I’ve thought about this a lot and I think most of the time things are either fantastic, good, OK, or bearable, so when something is bad, it seems like a bigger deal. And, though some things really are bad, we get through them. I think my mom suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder along with various other problems.

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