All summer in a day
All summer in a day
”Do the scientists really know? Will it
happen today, will it?”
”Look, look; see for yourself!”
The children pressed to each other like
so many roses, so many weeds,
intermixed, peering out for a look at the
”It’s stopping, it’s stopping!”
All day yesterday they had read in class
about the sun.
About how like a lemon it was, and how
hot. And they had written small
or essays or poems about it:
I think the sun is a flower,
That blooms for just one hour.
That was Margot’s poem, read in a quiet
voice in the still classroom while
rain was falling outside.
”Aw, you didn’t write that!” protested
one of the boys.
”I did,” said Margot. ”I did.”
”William!” said the teacher.
But that was yesterday. Now the rain
was slackening, and the children
crushed in the great thick windows.
”She’ll be back.”
”She’d better hurry, we’ll miss it!”
They turned on themselves; like a
feverish wheel, all tumbling
Margot stood alone. She was a very frail
girl who looked as if she had been
in the rain for years and the rain had
washed out the blue from her
eyes and the red from
her mouth and the yellow from her
hair. She was an old photograph
dusted from an
album, whitened away, and if she spoke
at all her voice would be a ghost.
stood, separate, staring at the rain and
the loud wet world beyond the
”What’re you looking at?” said William.
Margot said nothing.
”Speak when you’re spoken to.” He gave
her a shove. But she did not
rather she let herself be moved only by
him and nothing else.
They edged away from her, they would
not look at her. She felt them go
The biggest crime of all was that she
had come here only five years ago
Earth, and she remembered the sun.
And they, they had been on
Venus all their lives,
and they had been only two years old
when last the sun came out and
had long since
forgotten the color and heat of it and
the way it really was. But Margot
”It’s like a penny,” she said once, eyes
”No it’s not!” the children cried.
”It’s like a fire, ” she said, ”in the stove.”
”You’re lying, you don’t remember!”
cried the children.
There was talk that her father and
mother were taking her back to
Earth next year;
it seemed vital to her that they do so,
though it would mean the loss of
dollars to her family. And so, the
children hated her for all these
reasons of big and little
consequence. They hated her pale snow
face, her waiting silence, her
thinness, and her
”Get away!” The boy gave her another
push. ”What’re you waiting for?”
Then, for the first time, she turned and
looked at him. And what she was
for was in her eyes.
”Well, don’t wait around here!” cried the
boy savagely. ”You won’t see
”Oh, but,” Margot whispered, her eyes
helpless. ”But this is the day, the
scientists predict, they say, they know,
the sun . . .”
”All a joke!” said the boy, and seized her
roughly. ”Hey, everyone, let’s put
in a closet before the teacher comes!”
”No,” said Margot, falling back.
They surged about her, caught her up
and bore her, protesting, and
and then crying, back into a tunnel,
a room, a closet, where they