Challenge #01805-D344: This Little Light...
Sometimes we can't do much to make things better, rather like emptying the ocean with a teaspoon. But, even a small candle gives light. -- Anon Guest
You'd think it was impossible to be cold when you're watching your entire life go up in flames. But Sandra was. She'd woken up with someone dragging her out of the little wooden cottage that she had spent her life savings on, and kept her life mementoes in. Everything she owned. Everything she'd made.
Someone wrapped her up in a blanket. It was handmade. Quilt. Made out of ten billion tiny diamonds in a pattern that could either be a stack of cubes or a set of falling cubes, depending on which way the eye wanted to see it. Sandra saw starbursts in it. There was a cup of hot broth.
"Vegetable," said the voice outside of her ability to focus. "Just in case you have a food regime."
The mug was warm in Sandra's hands. The broth salty and good. Inner warmth and outer warmth helped rally her from her tunnel vision. It was the weirdo neighbour. The one from down the road who rarely saw the sun and always went super-weird during halloween. They had a shirt with a robot on it, and a heavy jacket and a weird hat. "Thanks."
"Do you have a backup plan?" asked the neighbourhood weirdo. "We have a spare bedroom, and I have a bad habit of making way too much food at this time of year. There's room at the table..."
Sandra considered her options. Life in a weirdo house versus life in a shelter. Both whilst waiting for the red tape to clear and the insurance to accuse her of arson, and for a government agent to cut her off from her bank accounts. Homelessness versus becoming what she hated - a leech on someone else's household. "You've heard my politics... why are you inviting me into your house?"
The weirdo neighbour smiled. "You've heard mine. I'm putting what I have where my mouth is."
It wasn't much. One room halfway dominated by what Weirdo Wanda called 'scrattle'. Borrowed pyjamas and leftover clothes. And a Christmas feast that could have lasted two weeks if Sandra wasn't there. And for all that the house was weird, it was warm and homely.
Politics were not for the feast discussion. Just ways to wriggle around the red tape and how to get Sandra back on her feet. When they weren't swapping recipes or educating each other about their chosen entertainments. It was during that winter that Sandra figured out what was truly weird about Wanda's weird family.
They never stopped learning about things. Anything that piqued their curiosity, they looked into. They sought out the new and strange.
Sandra couldn't understand how they did it. And that could be why her politics were the way they were. But when she was in need, the Weirdoes didn't see her as a leech. She was someone who had a need when they had excess.
And that was why she tried to learn, herself.
Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
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