Ritual by Mo Hayder


And the harbour was dismal, even though it was spring.

Oh, today, Monday, day of turmoil and woe. You knew it had to be on the horizon. The first day back to school after a very long weekend filled with family, friends, and food that knew no end.

This morning there was a headache, a stomachache, and a drippy nose. There was a lost lunch bag. There were wet shoes. There was no heat until M discovered that the switch that was supposed to be switched wasn’t. There was a confused puppy, who when told to go to her crate developed the expression of “But, but, but, I thought we were all going to be together forever!” There was forgotten lunch money. There were tears. There was yelling.

And there was an elephant on the side of the road on the way to school and a school of fish swimming through spindly tree branches. There was a conversation about pink Hershey kisses and another one about the impossibility of breathing everything but oxygen, and there were fluffernutter sandwiches for breakfast. There was an overwhelming urge to kiss everyone twice, and then once again just because. There were dresses made of hundred dollar bills and bow ties made of spaghetti, and the smell of garlic in our hair as we skipped down the porch stairs and greeted the day with exuberance.

No. I’m totally lying. There was no exuberance. There were no Hershey kisses of any color. Breakfast was oatmeal and boring.

Some days are made of gossamer, but most are not, and this one, this morning, was definitely not. This one was made of sludge and half rotten leaves.

But we all made it to the buildings that were expecting us. I got to sit on my bouncy ball at my desk that’s covered in scraps of Very Important Notes that I have no fear will ever be moved unless I am the one doing the moving. I got to sip tea and read about early examples of bioengineering. It was warm and lovely. Very nearly gossamer.

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