This story was written for a few reasons. First, it fleshes out a scene captured by @rea in the photograph below of a small tree and a tiny cloud. She took it on a bright day in Heartwood Forest near East Hyde in the UK. Second, it expresses some of the tension I'm feeling for my friends in Florida bracing for Hurricane Irma. Third, it touches on something one Florida friend, @tamaralovelace, is experiencing following her son's car accident. Thankfully, she's able to be by her son's side and his condition continues to improve. Visit her blog and please pray4rodney. Fourth, it allows me to participate in the writing exercise of the PALnet Fiction Workshop's Conflict Prompt contest. The theme for this contest is man/woman vs God or fate. Below is my entry.
"My Uncertainty Principle"
Why would you make a cloud that small? You mocking me? Maybe Einstein was wrong. Maybe, God, you do play dice.
I'm helpless here. The sun shines like nothing's wrong. People mill about, sipping their coffee, poking their phones. For them, it's just another day. Not a cloud in the sky, except that one.
How dare you make a cloud that small? Here, in my heaven? With my son lying there, four thousand miles away?
Einstein didn't know you. He believed in the world's design, and attribution? It wasn't given to you. Wouldn't give you the satisfaction.
Where are you, anyway? Never showing up. Never answering when you're called. You're like a disobedient child, a reckless son... an injured, fragile...
Still. Einstein said you don't play dice. Even he was tempted to euphemize you into some sort of existence.
“Rodney Clemons was admitted early this morning. I'll need some information from you.”
A nurse talked into my ear. I answered the ring, half asleep. Caller ID, Osceola Regional. Where is Osceola?
“Does your son have any known allergies?”
I need to get there. Flights cancelled.
Why? Because you've been playing dice, God. I know my son's position with some precision, but not his velocity.
Heavy rain. Took a curve too fast. “Hurricane Irma, bearing down on the eastern edge of Florida.” The TV tells me. A failed wiper. What was it, a tree? An oncoming truck obeying Newton's laws of motion?
You do play dice. Throw a butterfly into a wave and watch its delicate, dying wings flutter vapors into cloud. A swirling volcano of rain churning over the state that holds my son, whose breathing is assisted.
A wiper, small strip of rubber. Driving rain on a windshield. I've seen the cloud on TV. Circulous, menacing, enormous, beating me down into my own mind's surf, gasping, gurgling foam, drowning here in East Hyde just off the M1.
The crunching of steel jolts me from my drowning. Clanging, twisted, the aching roar of metal bending. I heard it. I think I heard it. I woke up before I got the call. Osceola Regional. “Where are you located, again?”
“His condition is stable for now. The doctor will update you in an hour.”
This small cloud hangs in my sky. A molecule, a whiff of lint. Give me the storm. Why give it to him? I hate your tiny cloud and your weird physics that brought it here.
“Mrs. Clemons? He's breathing on his own.”
The tiny cloud floats away. Only the tree remains, and pointless sunshine.
A pang in my sternum. I need to touch him, feel him pressed against my chest. Osceola Regional.
If you do play dice. If nothing is certain. If what I can know about movement in relation to place is finitely limited, then I'll be my own butterfly, with turbulent, terrible wings. I'll flap them firmly, spawning storms myself.