A little girl sits on the side of the road. Her skirt is torn, her sneakers are dirty. She holds in her hand a small white flower and sings softly to herself. Blind to her presence the cars whiz by her: no one notices her dark brown hair, no one notices the dirt on her face, or the color of the stripes on her tee shirt. Under her breath she murmurs words: “moonlight dries your tears, moonlight hides your fears…” But no one hears her words.
The sky above the busy roadway, dark and gray, threatens to drop a deluge on those beneath, but the only wind is from the moving traffic and the moisture remains locked in the dark clouds overhead. The meteorologists all report the low pressure system moving in is bringing with it rain and snow and wind. And the people panic that they won’t last the week. They rush out of their homes and into their cars and drive to the stores to stock up on water and canned vegetables they wouldn’t eat if they weren’t desperate. They miss the lack of wind in the trees and the lack of precipitation on their windshields. They see only what they’ve been told is going to come. Already they have that tree branch on the ground, they have the power out for days, they have their basements full of water, their neighbors sleeping on cots in the high school’s gymnasium, and the coal gray clouds are full of thunder.
The girl, as oblivious to the weather as the passersby are to her, continues to calmly sing to her flower.
Finally someone spots her. He pulls his car over and yells out the window.
“What are you doing, little girl? Don’t you know a storm’s coming?”
The little girl tilts her head to the side as she stares at the man.
“Go home! Why don’t you go home where it’s safe?”
“Safe from the storm! You shouldn’t be out here when there’s a storm coming!”
“So I should come back tomorrow?”
“Not if it’s raining!”
The little girl stares up at the clouds.
“It isn’t raining.”
“But it’s going to! A storm’s coming I tell you!”
“Any minute now! A system is moving in!”
The little girl furrows her brow.
“The storm!” the man insists. “The storm is coming.”
“But it’s not here yet.”
“No, but it’s imminent!”
“But it’s not here yet,” she insists.
“You still shouldn’t be here alone! Go home!”
“It’s not time to go home. I’ll go home when it’s time.”
“It’s time now! The storm’s coming!”
“But it’s not here yet.”
The driver gives up and pulls away from the curb with a final “Go home, little girl.”
The little girl waves as he pulls away. She raises her face to the clouds and smiles as she sings.
“Moonchild still lives in my heart. Can I ask you something? Is your life better now?”