Overcast with a Chance of Tobie | Teen Ink

Overcast with a Chance of Tobie

October 3, 2010
By MacKenzie Cameron BRONZE, Delta, Other
MacKenzie Cameron BRONZE, Delta, Other
4 articles 0 photos 5 comments

I like to think that I was born in the North Pole, inside of an ice cavity; the ice mutating my DNA so I adapted to the rawness of the cold. Born into a place where the inky night sky, with its crystal stars, is more angelic than the light of day; I love the moon more than the sun, the stars more than the clouds. Because of this, the sun is jealous and so it snatches at me with its flaming fingers while gasping at me with its scorching breath. When I was asked about my childhood by a nurse, I told her a polar bear gave birth to me, and then the Inuit abducted me. Following my abduction, the Inuit were unsatisfied with my fishing technique, so they mailed me to Canada. The mailman proceeded to throw me on a front porch, just like a newspaper, and declared it my new home. The nurse laughed; my mother did not. My mother believes that at seven years old, I am a gift from the heavens and that not a single organism could hate a cell of my body. I believe she’s a phony. The sun hates me.
There is no sun in the rainy night sky, so I deem it safe to proceed outdoors with rain gear. On tonight’s agenda: create the daily prophetic thought in the tree house, pound the trampoline, and finish with an architectural dig of the sandbox. Climbing up the ladder, I slide into the wooden hollow of the tree house with ease. Holding my book of horoscopes and prophetic thoughts feels very empowering. A lot of thought went into selecting the book and I finally settled on one that looks like it came from a Vikings’ book shelf. It takes me two minutes to come up with tonight’s prophetic thought: the world needs more ice cream trucks. Thirty seconds is all it takes to bounce on the trampoline and an underground subway route is constructed in my sand box in one and half minutes. In total, tonight’s endeavours took me four minutes. Success! If there’s one thing I know well, it is that it only takes four minutes to save the world. I have to walk around the side of the house with extra stealth because I know I’m not allowed alone in the cul-de-sac at night. Puddles have conquered the driveway and their glazed surfaces reflect the lampposts’ light. I glare at the fraudulent sunlight pouring from the street lamps, knowing that it does not come close to the real thing. My play time is ticking by so I sit on the wet grass, lotus position, and wish on the little suns in the night sky. No one knows it yet, but tomorrow will be different than any other tomorrow; in approximately nine hours I am getting reacquainted with the sun.
The sun is so brilliantly bright today, it seems as though it knows I am coming. I am pretending to read my assigned book about a girl trying to build the ultimate sand castle. Gently, I press my pinkie finger against the window. The warmth is immediate and exhilarating. When I was little I used to stand in my Spiderman boxers, fully pressed against the screen door just to embrace the sun. My mother punished me for it, so now I only risk it when she is not around. Risk is a minor word compared to what I am about to do. I crank the latch on the window and force it open. With quick fingers I pry off the screen, throwing it onto the lawn below, and thrust my forearm through the open window. It is like a waltz on my arm, a march of heat through my cells. Every fibre of my being is pulsating to the pressure of the sun’s rays. My skin is an inferno but I don’t care; this is the most I have felt in years. Red spots begin to flourish on my skin like poppies during a spring shower. With much reluctance, I peel back from the window, close it up and examine the damage. My burnt and blistered skin needs attention so I drag myself down the stairs to find my mother; it is too short a walk to the lion’s den.
The sun’s stains are scrawled across my arm. I re-live every perfect note its melody strummed across my skin. I went to bed last night with ointment, bandages and a spanking. My nightly playtime was also cut down from twenty minutes to ten. On tonight’s agenda: create a horoscope in the tree house, perform sun salutations, and end with the weekly glow stick count. The rain embraces my skin in ways the sun never does as I scale the tree house ladder. Tonight’s horoscope requires some extra thought so it takes me three minutes. Aquarius: your wish for eternal sunscreen will be granted. I am not very flexible and according to my watch the sun salutations required one minute of my time. It is back up the tree house for me to perform the glow stick count. Behind the bookshelf I pull out a sack of glow sticks. I have been collecting since I was four; since I was first told I would never be allowed in the sunshine again. If my calculations are correct, it would take one thousand eight hundred and seventy two glow sticks to fabricate the presence of the sun in my tree house. My current count: one hundred nineteen. I check my watch and slump my shoulders in disappointment. It has taken me five minutes to complete the agenda. Failure; Madonna would not be impressed. I lie down on the moist grass, rain falling like pin pricks into my open eyes. I take in the sight of a crescent moon cloaked in gauzy clouds. When I wish on the little suns tonight, it is not about my normal wishes. Tonight I wish about my future.
When I look to the future, to my final moments in old age, I like to imagine myself in Antarctica; the darkest place on earth. The night will be upon me and I will be performing my sun salutations for the final time; a farewell to the sun and the person it made me. I will then be sitting in lotus position stretching my palms to the sky, the moon, and the stars; my body no longer the canvas of the suns’ brush strokes. When I inhale my last breath, my one wish is this: to follow the phases of the moon in the sky, to become a crystal in the fibre of midnight.

The author's comments:
A note on xeroderma pigmentosum:
XP is a genetic disease characterized by extreme sensitivity to sunlight and it often results in skin cancer at a very early age. XP is due to the defective repair of damage done to the DNA from UV light rays. Uninfected people can repair the damage from UV light, yet damage done to persons with XP is irreversible. Exposure to sun results in extreme sunburns, dryness of skin, blistering and freckles; all of this occurs in a matter of minutes. Children with XP can only play outdoors safely after nightfall and are therefore often referred to as night children, midnight children, and children of the dark.

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