Bedtime Stories


Written by Sara Arnell

Evening bliss





“It’s the cold,” my mother said. “Nothing can bear being this cold. It’s been below zero for the past few days. This weather’s not good for Ruby. She coughed this morning for a bit. I tried to turn her over, but it didn’t work.”

“Nothing does well in cold like this. Except kids. Remember when we used to go outside and blow bubbles so we could watch them freeze? It’s a bubble freezing kind of day. My eyes dried out from the cold this morning.” I tried to change the subject from Ruby, but my mother couldn’t be distracted.

“This cold is going to be the death of us all,” she writhed with worry.

“It’s really going to be OK, mom,” I tried to reassure her, “I’ll make you a cup of coffee. Something nice and warm on this freezing day. There’s nothing you can do right now. The snow is coming down and we’re stuck until we get plowed out. It said on the news we’re expecting up to 2 feet.”

“Oh I hate to hear that,” my mother lamented. “Why are you telling me this? I have enough bad news. I hate this feeling of not being able to get out. I feel stuck with Ruby, who is basically dead. Ruby who can’t even move. Ruby who just coughs and sputters. I can’t take this, I’m telling you. I’m at my wits end.”

“That’s a bit extreme,” I quickly respond, trying to calm her down and quiet her mind of doomsday thoughts and Ruby’s untimely demise. “We have to be positive. Things will be fine, you’ll see. Do you want that coffee?”

“No, I had my cup this morning.”

“Have another.”

“No. Well maybe. No…it’s too much for me. I’m already on edge. Is there a hard roll left? I’d like a hard roll with butter.”

“No, mom, no roll,” I told her after I checked the bread box.

“You see? That’s what I mean. I want a roll and there isn’t one. And I can’t even leave this house to go and get one, snow or not, because Ruby can’t move and I can’t just leave her.”

“Mom, there’s other stuff to eat.” 

“You don’t understand. I’m not just anxious, I’m sad and scared about what might happen. I don’t like feeling so helpless. It’s a familiar feeling and it brings me back to a difficult time in my life. I’ve been in this position before – alone, stranded and waiting to be rescued. I always had Ruby to get me where I wanted to go. I always had Ruby, my trusted companion. She’s not herself anymore. She’s immobile and as stuck as I am. We’re quite a pair, wouldn’t you say?”

“OK Mom. How can I help? I hate to see you this upset.”

“I think it’s time to call Bob. I have his number. Tell him he needs to come get Ruby now, before this snow piles up any more. I’ll feel better knowing she’s someplace where she can get taken care of. My poor Ruby. She was such a great car.”

The Stories

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