Friday, December 31, 2010


I could feel the rain in the air from inside the bus. My Dad could smell rain days ahead of time and had told me we were due soon. I never could smell rain until it was right on top of me with rumbling clouds and sheet lightning like it was on the ride home from school. When Ms. Judy let me off the bus I scrambled to my door, leaving my sister to cross the street on her own.

When I got inside I dumped my backpack on the floor by the door before racing upstairs as my mother’s voice called after me. I ignored her and slammed the door to my room as an answer. If she realized I’d ripped a hole in another pair of jeans I’d be locked inside without my books at least for tonight if not the rest of the week. So I hid them at the bottom of my hand painted dresser under old gymnastic uniforms and riding pants from failed athletic attempts. I pulled neon bike shorts and one of my Dad’s college t-shirts out of the top drawer. All his old school clothes fit me now, I wondered if he ate anything while he was at college.

I didn’t bother putting my shoes back on. It was only April and my feet were still tender, but a storm is no fun in shoes. My room was in shambles but if I hurried, my mother probably wouldn’t notice in time to stop me from leaving. There was a huge crash of thunder as I raced down the stairs. After the skies had said their piece I yelled some sort of explanation towards the kitchen. My mother was too busy tiling the backsplash to really care anyway.

Outside the first raindrops had just begun to stain the concrete. I leapt off the porch and ran across the yard, marveling in the cold thick grass under my feet. My Dad said when he was young he wanted to grow up and have a house with a white picket fence and rich people grass. Even though our house was modest, and our fence tall and unpainted, the grass was thick and even. He’d spend hours fertilizing and weeding it on the weekends. It was rich people grass.

I reached the edge of the yard and continued my flight down the street. I could feel raindrops beginning to splatter in my hair and on my shoulders. Two houses down the hot asphalt gave way to gravel that made my feet yelp and ache. I dealt with it. The pain was worth it. In a month I’d be able to step on the broken glass and nails that littered the half built houses I explored in the summer without feeling a thing. The road dead ended at Danielle’s house. I didn’t bother going to the door, instead I went around to her tiny basement window. I lay on my belly and stuck my head in the window. The wind blew my shirt up my back and let cold, tingly raindrops fall on my spine. Surprisingly, she wasn’t there. Something touched the back of my neck and I jumped, banging my head in the process. I hoped it wasn’t a spider, with their shiny eyes and crackling legs. It was Danielle. She stood over me with the rest of the gang: the Tongeus sisters, Thomas, Katie, and my sister.

“Well are you coming?” She asked

I nodded and began to stand up as they all began to run around the side of Danielle’s house. When I rounded the corner they had all disappeared into the mist surrounding her lake. It was stiff and dense like my mother’s meringue. The rain began pounding down on me, making my hair dark and slick and my clothes stick to me. I wiggled my toes in the mud that was beginning to form and chased after my friends.

This is a highly fictionalize memory from my childhood.

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