19

It was part of an anthology that was required reading in Canada, maybe 30 yrs ago.

A woman and her daughter live on a toxic planet. Story may have been told from daughter's POV. The mother is cold, strict. The (hi tech?) house is hermetically sealed.

A toxic rainstorm begins. The "cold" mother sees a little girl outside in the street, crying in the rain. No one will go out into the poison storm. All the neighbors stay safe inside, watching the child die. Except the "cold" mother. She runs outside to hold the child (knowing she herself will die) just so a little girl she's never met won't die alone in the rain. The daughter realizes her mother was full of love for her, but afraid to feel it or show it in such a dangerous world.

  • I'll assume you mean required reading in your Canadian school, as opposed to required reading for all Canadians of any age 30 years ago. – RDFozz Dec 7 '18 at 23:59
9

This is "Crying in the Rain" by Tanith Lee.

I do keep remembering one morning, that morning of a colossal rain, when I was six or seven. I was trying to look out at the forbidden world, with my nose pressed to the Sealtite. All I could see through the distorting material was a wavering leaden rush of liquid. And then I saw something so alien I let out a squeal.
[...]My mother came to see. Together we looked through the fall of rain, to where a tiny girl, only about a year old, was standing-out on the street. Not knowing how she got there--strayed from some squat, most likely. She wore a pair of little blue shorts and nothing else, and she clutched a square of ancient blanket that was her doll. Even through the sealed pane and the rainfall you could see she was bawling and crying in terror.
"Jesus Christ and Mary the Mother," said my own mother on a breath. Her face was scoured white as our sink. But her eyes were blazing fires, hot enough to quench the rain. And next second she was thrusting me into the TV room, locking me in, shouting, Stay there don't you move or I'll murder you!
Then I heard both our front doors being opened. Shut. When they opened again and shut again, I heard a high-pitched infantile roaring. The roar got louder and possessed the house. Then it fell quiet. I realized my my mother had flown out into the weather and grabbed the lost child and brought her under shelter.
Of course, it was no use. When my mother carried her to the emergency unit next day, after the All Clear, the child was dying. She was so tiny. She held her blanket to the end and scorned my mother, the nurse, the kindly needle of oblivion. Only the blanket was her friend. Only the blanket had stayed and suffered with her in the rain.

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