Congratulations to Lisa Millhouse, who is the runner-up for the Paint Splashes Contest.
Lisa Millhouse has always liked to write. She composes short essays on biblical scripture for her own reflection and keeps a journal. She works as a mental health counselor and attends the doctoral program in Clinical Psychology at Immaculata University.
Here is her story. I hope you enjoy it as much as we all did.
By Lisa Millhouse
The little girl was dying. She couldn’t eat, couldn’t talk, and couldn’t even sit up anymore. Her mother, father, and brother moved around the house with the vacant stare of an absinthe drinker. Throughout the day, the sound of mundane daily life could not penetrate the cold thick silence that hung in the house like fog. The atmosphere was so drugged, so dark, and so muted that it seemed like the house itself was being held motionless by an enormous invisible hand.
Outside the house, everyone was preparing for Christmas Day the way they always do: cooking, shopping, and having long-missed conversations with friends and family. They did most of these things on the internet. The internet helped with all kinds of things related to Christmas, like party invitations, gifts, and recipes.
The first place they saw the story was on Twitter. Then they saw it on Facebook, blogs, and news websites because the story jumped around the internet like a hyperkinetic frog. There was no way to not know out about the dying girl. They found out that she was six years old, that there’s nothing the doctors can do, and that she hasn’t got long. They found out that she’s really ok with dying, at least that’s what the story said. But there’s one thing she wants, one thing that will make her death easier to take for everyone: to hear people sing Christmas carols.
A few days later, right before Christmas, a mob formed outside the dark, motionless house. Women in red cloaks, men in dark coats, holding candles and singing carols with mournful faces. In between carols, they talked in whispers about how tragic and terrible it was to die so young and how difficult it must be for the family. There was only a little almost imperceptible recognition of mutual relief that it wasn’t happening to them.
After the vigil they all went home and when they turned on their computers they saw a picture of the little girl smiling. Satisfied, they clicked on links for cookie recipes and predictions for the football game. Other people who were not a part of the vigil saw the pictures, too, and felt good for having read about it on the internet.
After the little girl died, someone very old heard about the vigil. He remembered a time when neighbors sang soft lullabies into the ears of a dying child that no one else could hear. Sometimes, they tried to talk to the family but their voice got swallowed up by the thick cotton silence. Eventually when death was near they gave up trying to make anyone feel better, including themselves. They laid down and tied themselves to the train tracks right beside the mom, dad, and brother and waited for the train to finally come.
He remembered all of this and thought that maybe that this vigil was for more than the little girl, because so much more has been lost.
I really enjoyed hosting this contest. It was fun to read how others interpreted my husband’s painting. Next week I will feature my own story revolving around this particular painting. I hope you all join me. It’s just for fun. On the 25th I will post my stats for the whole month of April since I have postponed doing this for the contest winners. By then, I hope to be able to post better news than I have been getting so far this month in my writing. Thank you for reading my blog and for those who participated in Paint Splashes Contest. I may repeat it again in the future. Who knows?