It was late; she was tired and frustrated. Nothing seemed to be going the way she needed them to - not anymore, anyway.
At first it was just little things: she lost her cell phone, the bills got paid a little late, she could never make it to a meeting on time. But then it kept escalating: her car was stolen, her apartment caught fire, she became pregnant and couldn't find the father to tell him. And now, worst of all, her muse was gone.
She made her living with fire and metal, creating strange and wonderful works of art either by her own design or her client's commission. But lately the spark had left her. She also made ordinary things - shelves, drawers, cabinets - and it was these that were putting food on the table now, as the well was dry. They had been doing so well on their own before. If only she could find her muse again...
Kali removed her protective mask and looked up at the large piece of metal with something that resembled hope.
She was met with silence.
Silence, and soft moon beams shining in through the open windows, illuminating the large grey slate that was to be her latest work. Unfinished, and uninspired.
A little voice, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, had wandered out of bed to join her.
"What's wrong, baby?" Kali set down the blowtorch and removed her thick safety gloves. "What are you doing up so late?"
The little voice wandered over to his mother's piece of work, unfinished and uninspired, and tilted his little head.
"What's it gonna be, Momma?"
"I don't know yet, sweetie."
He stared at it a moment longer, then walked to his mother and wrapped his arms around her waist, burying his face into her stomach.
He was going to be tall, Kali thought to herself. Tall, just like his father was.
She knelt and picked the boy up, pretending to strain with the effort, and was rewarded with the sound of giggling.
"Oh, so you think that's funny, hm? Then how about this?"
Giggles turned to laughter as Kali tickled the squirming boy, all the while carrying him back towards the bed in the next room. Becoming a mother had demanded that she acquire such skills as these.
At the foot of the bed, she ceased her attack and gently plopped her son down on the mess of sheets and pillows and comforters.
"No, 'momma'ing me. It's late, and you should be asleep."
He sat up. "But Momma-"
"No buts." Kali seated herself on the edge of the bed, and leaned over to kiss the boy just under his mess of soft dark hair. That, too, was just like his father. "Let me worry about bills, and food, and money. You worry about being too tired for school tomorrow because you were up this late instead of sleeping. Now go on." She stood to pull back and straighten some of the covers on his side of the bed. "Get up here and get some sleep."
The boy did as he was told, shimming under sheets and scooting close to a second small body, his brother, asleep since their bedtime hours earlier. He closed his eyes, as if to sleep, but opened them again as soon as Kali made to leave the room.
"I believe in you. Tommy does too."
Kali smiled, feeling her chest warm with love at her son's words. She sat on the edge of the bed once more and brushed a bit of hair out of his face before placing another kiss on his forehead, and then one on his brother's.
"Thank you, sweetheart, but the real thing you should believe in is art. If nothing else in the world, know that I love you, both of you, with all my heart, and that you can always, always, believe in art. Where there is art, there is a way."
He didn't quite understand what it all meant, she knew, but one day he would, and Kali wanted to make sure that he knew so that he would always remember.
She sat there a while, humming some obscure tune, until the two boys' breathing matched and both were soundly asleep.
Kali stood then, and made her way back to the main room of the apartment. She put back on her gloves, fitted her safety mask, and picked back up her blowtorch. She had felt uninspired before, unable to create, but maybe that was because she had been looking for 'it' in the wrong sort of places. Maybe, for just a little while, she had forgotten the right way of things.
"I love my sons with all my heart." Kali told the large piece of metal. "And I believe in this; I believe in my art."