The Light’s Still On

Author’s Note: Here is a very good example of how what I get from songs being far from what the artist had intended. I was prompted with Brenda Carlile’s “Leave a Light On,” which at the very least has a far more upbeat tempo than this bit of fic that came out of my brain.

I suppose this can count as a Saturday song, even if it wasn’t written for a themed snippet. I finally got to posting this after my dentist visit, which was traumatic in many ways.

The Light’s Still On

Every night, Nada walked a well-worn path to the front door. She pressed a hand against the wood, taking a deep breath and wondering if tonight she would be strong enough to break the ritual. Tonight, she could turn away, walk back to her room, forget all about this. She should be strong enough by now, practical enough. Surely the intervening years had taught her not to hope.

“Leave a light on for me, koshechka.” Whispered words from a smiling face almost lost to time, remembered only by the faded photographs hidden away in places he would never look, a faint touch her skin seemed to remember, these were all she had left of that woman. “I love you, and I’ll be back soon.”

Her mother had not returned in more than twenty years. She hadn’t said where she was going or why. Her promise to return was a hollow one, an empty gesture to placate a child foolish enough to believe in it. Nada was not six years old anymore. That kind of naivete had been crushed out of her day by day as her mother failed to reappear.

Her hand reached toward the lamp and then pulled back. She swallowed, fighting tears that should not come. All that grief, all that anger, that was behind her. She lifted her head, determined to walk back to her bedroom without giving in to her usual weakness.

She took two steps forward and cursed herself as she ran back to the lamp. She shook her head as she yanked on the cord.

“I think I hate you, Mom,” she whispered, closing her eyes, “but the light’s still on.”

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