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The Sun Coming out of the Clouds
by Julie Michaelson
For Sale
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Follow Me,
and I
will make you
of men.
[Matthew 4:19]
Lisa was standing in her aunt's
hospital room. It wasn't even
6 o'clock in the morning; Lisa
was cradling a hot cup of Star
Buck's coffee with both of
her cold hands. She remembered
how, years ago, one could only
get awful hospital coffee out
of a vending machine. Now,
they had everything down in
the lobby: from StarBucks,
to Pizza Hut, to tiny yogurt
stands with their own little
cafe-style tables and chairs.
"Aunt Beth?
Do you want me to raise
you up? Sorry I can't get
you even a cup of water;
these operations......you're
not allowed to have anything
at all."

The elderly lady just smiled
"No, honey.
I'm fine."

"They should be coming in
soon, to give you a shot.
(Lisa cleared her throat.)
Uh.... you know:
to make you real sleepy."

(Soft voice.)
"I know, sweetie.
It's okay."

"Uh.....we're all hoping
the operation will go okay.
Mom's out in the waiting
room; did ya want her to...."

(Aunt Beth's voice suddenly
seemed stronger.)
"No, dear. Hm.....
I'd really like to just
talk to you."

(Lisa frowned.)
"Sure, uh....that's okay."

Her aunt raised up, just
a bit, on her pillows.
"There's something
I want to tell you,
before......I go."

Lisa grimmaced, and set
her hot cup down. She
shivered, in the cool,
quiet private room; why
did hospitals always seem
so COLD? She went to
the chair, by the wide door,
and grabbed her sweater.
"What are you SAYING,
Aunt BETH? Don't SAY that!
Things are very DIFFERENT,
today, than they were a long
TIME ago! Heart operations
just aren't like, what they WERE!"

Aunt Beth gave a faint shrug
of her thin gowned, shoulders.
"Honey, please. I know what
they saying......believe me.
I'm no fool! I have had this
trouble for many years: even
before your Uncle Matt died.
All of us have our own time, sweetheart."

Lisa shivered, again. She didn't
particularly like this little snippet
of lively conversation. Ugh!
She was terribly squeamish, in
hospitals, to start with......and now,
"Aunt Beth, I'm going to go
get Mom...."

Aunt Beth's voice was
uncharacteristically strong.
Even in her younger days,
she was always very soft
spoken: unlike Lisa's mother
and Aunt Beth's own sister.
"No, Lisa. I only wish to
speak with you."

Lisa pulled over one of the
guest chairs, and sat down by
her aunt's bedside. She shot
a quick glance at the machines,
on the other side of her aunt's
bed, and tried not to grimmace
again. Ugh. She could almost
feel the StarBucks rising to
her tender throat. She could
even smell the wafts of disinfectant,
and other....smells.....coming from
the huge hallway. Outside, there
was a soft murmuring of voices.
"Uh.....yes? What is it,
Aunt Beth?"

Her aunt smiled, and tenderly
placed a thin hand over Lisa's
cold ones. It seemed barely
to touch, though it felt
surprisingly warm.
"What have I always told you,
my dear?"

Lisa had to gather her thoughts
for one moment. The hour of
the day, plus being in this
unusually somber setting,
was definitely clogging her mind,
and preventing any kind of real alertness.
Any mental effort, at all,
was a real stretch.
"Hm.......you mean what you
ALWAYS tell me?"

Aunt Beth closed her
eyes, sat back against the
big white pillows, and nodded,
a little feebly.

Lisa sighed, inaudibly. Then, she
smiled thinly. She dearly
wished to run out of the
dark, quiet room and go
get her mother.
"You mean...........uh....
you mean, about the
SUN coming out of the CLOUDS?"

Aunt Beth's large dark eyes
opened, suddenly.
Yes, Lisa!

From behind her, Lisa heard a
the muted sounds of footsteps.
She turned her head to the
side, just to hear the big
hospital door opening. A thin
block of light, coming in from
the hallway, shone across
her aunt's bed. It was a tall
man, in light blue scrubs, carrying
a tray of something. Lisa's
stomach lurched.
"Hm.....maybe, I better go now,
Aunt Beth. Uh....I think they're
here to give you something for

Her aunt seemed alarmed,
and not at all the calmly
complacent woman that
she had been, just a few
moments ago.
"No, NO!
Don't GO, Lisa!
I'm not DONE, yet!"

Lisa sighed: this time,
very audibly.
"Aunt Beth, I'm sorry.
But, they're just here
to give you a shot; you
won't feel a thing....
do you want me to get
Mom? Or, the Rabbi?
They're right outside!"

You MUST stay here!"
Aunt Beth's accent seemed
even more pronounced, at
the moment. Oh, goodness.....
did she want Lisa to actually
STAY? While this doctor
gave her that NEEDLE?

Lisa bit down on her
lower lip, and squeezed
her aunt's thin, warm hand.
"Yeah.....uh, okay, Aunt Beth.
Whatever you say....."

The doctor spoke quietly
to her aunt, for a few
moments, and then administered
the medication. Lisa turned
her head away, grimmacing.
Ugh. How did people get paid
to DO this stuff? Putting
a free hand to her stomach,
she dearly hoped she wouldn't
upchuck all her StarBucks right
in front of this nameless doctor.
Goodness, why did she ever agree
to coming with Mom to the HOSPITAL?
What was she: CRAZY?

"The medication will take effect
in just a minute or so." The doctor
turned to Lisa, and quietly walked
out of the room. His scrubs made
a soft swishing sound that wasn't
very pleasant, at least to Lisa.

thank you."
Lisa whispered.
She detested doctors,
almost as much as she hated hospitals.
Did they EVER have good NEWS?

Aunt Beth's faint voice was almost
a suprise; Lisa thought she would
have been sound asleep, by now.

"Shhh, Aunt Beth!
Just relax, okay?
I'm right here!

"Lisa, I must tell you
don't tell your mother...
she will only get very angry
with me....."

What are you SAYING, Aunt Beth?
Of COURSE not!
She LOVES you!"

Aunt Beth only shook her
head, stubbornly. She was
obviously fighting the strong
drugs that had just been administered.
No, Lisa.
I KNOW she will, but.....
I must tell you......
......I must tell you......
please.....just give me....
a piece of paper...."

Oy vey.
What NOW?
Lisa haunched her back,
as a sliver of a chill
ran down her spine.
Silently, she swore that
she would never, EVER
come into a HOSPITAL.
EVER again!
"Yes. YES, Aunt Beth!
Yes, right HERE!"
Lisa grabbed her purse from
off the little side table, and
unzipped it: pulling wads of
tissue and coin change out,
until she eyed a little piece
of notepad paper, and pencil
which said 'National Bank
and Trust' on it.
"Here, Aunt Beth.

Her aunt now seemed to
be talking to herself:
"The sun will be coming
out of the clouds....soon,
very soon."

Gingerly, Lisa placed the
crumpled piece of paper
under her aunt's small
hand. She was simply
doing it, just to be kind.
She doubted her heavily
sedated aunt could write
anything. She whispered,
"Here, Aunt Beth.
Here it is."

Her aunt stirred, for just
a moment, and then,
feebly, scrawled something
on the paper. Her hand
then relaxed, and the little
pencil rolled off her blanketed
lap, and onto the tiled floor.
Then, she whispered again;
"The sun.....will be coming out
of the clouds, Lisa. One day......."
Then, she abruptly fell off to sleep.

Lisa stood by, as the attendants,
also in light blue scrubs, came
to wheel her aunt down to surgery.
She watched, through the
open door, as her mother,
and bent over to kiss Aunt Beth's
sleeping face. Then, she opened
the palm that was still holding the
little piece of crumpled paper:
the one that Aunt Beth had
penciled on, with such concentration,
right before she dropped off to
sleep. She frowned, and squinted
down at the limp handwriting.
Then, she looked up, totally
perplexed, as though she had
just read something in a foreign
language. WHAT? What
was THIS about?

Lisa just sighed, and shook her
head, turning to walk out of the
cold room. Her tennis shoes
made cushioned footsteps on
the hard, echoing floor. She
crumpled the piece of paper
into her jeans' pocket. Like
her footsteps, thoughts of it
were immediately forgotten.

A week later, after Aunt Beth's
funeral, Lisa was pulling clothes
of the hamper to do some wash.
It was then, she felt something
sticking out of her jeans'
pocket, and opened to look at the
crumpled piece of notepad paper, again.
What was written on it,
still made no sense to her,
at all. Maybe, she'd show it
to someone....a friend, perhaps,
who would be more neutral, and hadn't
been even acquainted with her now
deceased aunt. Any one of her
OWN relatives would just shake their
heads, and say 'Poor Aunt BETH!
She must have been suffering
TERRIBLY... to have written such

Lisa could a trickle
of hot tears sliding down her
cheeks, as she stared at the
awuflly limp handwriting, once more:


Then I saw
Heaven opened,
and behold,
a white horse!
He Who sat
upon it
is called
and True,
and in righteousness
He judges
and makes war.
[Revelation 19:11]

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