The Rain of Spring
By Lauren Kojis
Sometimes, when it's raining, I look out the window on the East side of my bedroom and just think. There's a wooden chair over there with a giant cushion on it and it's just my size. As I sit there, I close my eyes and listen intently to the light pitter-patter of rain drops on the rooftop. The whole atmosphere soothes me, and I am at peace. No matter what it was that was bothering me, no matter how horrible it may have seemed…all of it is washed away in the tranquil setting and the deep scent of wet pine trees flowing through my window and into my life.
Today was one of those days. I had had an exhausting day. Earlier that morning I spent my time making breakfast, caring for my two twin sisters, Carly and Beth, (They were both four years old—quite a handful if you ask Me.) and writing up all my assignments for school. Homework was a headache, especially in high school. After that was done, I had to do my chores: washing the car, washing the dishes, taking the dog on a walk, dusting and vacuuming all the rooms, cleaning the basement, running down to the local grocery store and buying enough food to be full on for more than two weeks, and cleaning all the bathrooms and spare bedrooms. We had a party coming up soon. Of course, it wasn't for another week, but somehow my parents had the idea that sooner was better, so that was that. Then, I had to practice for my solo that I'd be singing in church on Sunday. I mean, I was the pastor's daughter so naturally that meant I had to be absolutely perfect in everything, or at least when I was in public. After all of that was done, I looked out side and saw the clouds begin to darken. My mind was in a whorl, but I wasn't going to let anybody catch me standing still. I trudged up the blue carpeted steps towards my room, and collapsed on my bed. Relaxation, finally.
I lay quite still letting the moments pass. I was near to falling off my bed, but I didn't care. I was so exhausted from the day's work. Sweat drained off of my face and onto my pillow. Ew. I tried to maintain myself, but there comes a point when a girl realizes she must get out of the gross situation she's in, no matter how tired she may be.
There went my worn-out body crashing to the wooden floor. Ow. Not only had I hit the floor, but also the edge of my pointy hand-made glass cabinet from my great-grandmother.
I rolled over a couple of times, and then stopped mid-way to stare at the ceiling. The beautiful landscape painting of a distant castle in Germany mesmerized me, but the minute I shut my eyes the exhausting details of my morning all flashed into my mind and resisted their surrender.
"No!" I shouted, but my shout was lost in the first thunder crash of spring. My eyes fluttered open and I gazed over at my East window and the chair beside it. Somehow, I had come up with just enough strength to get me to my knees as I crawled my way over there. Within two feet of the window, a gentle breeze passed through and into my room. I could smell the pine trees, the freshly blooming petunias and roses, and the sparkling dust from the bubbling brook in my back yard. I sighed in deeply, almost perfectly content. It gave me energy—the smell of spring. I climbed into the wooden chair, and relaxed into the setting.
"Rain," I whispered, closing my eyes. Seconds later, the drops began to fall. "Yes, finally, the first rainfall of April." I breathed in deeply, and the thunder crashed again. I opened my eyes just in time to see the flash of lightning right before my eyes.
"Wow…that is cool," I said, and smiled.
I watched the storm continue, and was more and more fascinated with each thunder crash. I love nature, I thought. My lovely thoughts were harshly interrupted, though, by the draining call of my mother requiring my assistance with my ever so wonderful sisters. Oh, joy.
"Melanie!" she called. I was silent, hoping she'd forget I was at home.
"Melanie!" she called again. I rolled my eyes. Why me?, I mouthed to the above.
"Melanie!" she yelled, much more direct now.
"I'm coming!!!" I replied very irritated. Racing down the steps, I went into the kitchen.
"Help me with dinner, will you?" mother asked politely with that ever so fake smile of hers. I grumbled, but headed over to the stove, stirring whatever it was that we were eating that night. I could never decipher between the sauces and solids anymore.
"Where are the twins?" I asked. I mean, if I have to be stuck making supper, with my mother, of all people, I might as well make conversation. I mean, why not?
"They're out playing in the rain. You know how they love this weather. In fact, I think they love it the most out of anyone in this family," mother said, smiling warmly at me as I continued to stir the concoction. I grumbled. No. I like it the best! Who does she think she is, dismissing me completely like that? I thought stirring much more roughly now.
"I'll be right back," she said, drifting out of the kitchen to the front yard.
"What are you doing?" I asked, slightly irritated that she had left all of this for me to do.
"I'm just checking on the girls. You're doing a great job!" she said, her voice fading ever more the farther away she was. I mocked her, mouthing her words to the "food" in front of me. I hated her so much! Well, maybe I didn't hate her, but she wasn't on my nice list. She only cared about Carly and Beth…and dad. She was always talking about how rude I was too, and how much I needed to grow up. Talk about growing up!
Just then, I heard a piercing shriek coming from the front yard. I dropped my ladle immediately as my eyes widened in fear. I knew the shriek was coming from my mother, and somehow my state of mind on her status in my life disappeared immediately at the thought of her in pain.
I ran outside drastically, and was horrified at the sight of my younger sister, Carly, lying deathly still in the arms of my petrified mother. I fell to the ground on the cobblestone patio as my other sister, Beth, ran to me in tears and clung to me like she'd never let go. I rocked her gently, and tried to forget what I was seeing. The minute my mother looked up, a glare so angry filled her eyes, generally in my direction, but at this point it seemed like she was in a lost world. She didn't know what to do. She just stood there and held that little girl. Finally, she looked up and saw me rocking Beth.
"Call the hospital," she whispered. I hadn't heard her, but I knew what she had said. I stood up, still clutching Beth in my arms and ran inside to make the telephone call. Half-way there, I bumped into dad. He had no idea what had happened, but as soon as he saw the tears flying down my cheeks and the shaking girl in my arms, he didn't have to ask. He ran outside to my mother.
"Oh my heavens!" he yelled, horrified. I shut my eyes, and ran into the kitchen. I had to make a phone call, and quick.
Hours later, I sat in the living room on an old wooden rocking chair, hand-carved by my great-great grandfather. It was still raining. I held Beth in my arms, and sang a sweet lullaby. It was far past her bed time, but with all the events that had happened in the last twelve hours, I wouldn't dare leave her.
Mom and dad had left for the hospital with Carly. I was so scared for her, but if I didn't at least act brave for Beth, there was no saving either of us.
The power had gone off and on all night, but the tall lamp beside us remained dimly lit. Beth was nearly asleep, but every time the thunder crashed, she shook. That was my sign she was not yet to dreamland. Every time she saw the lightning flash, she grasped her arms even tighter around my neck, and breathed harder.
"I'm scared," she would say.
"I know," I would reply.
And I'd keep rocking her, no matter what.
The next morning, I awoke to the telephone ring in the living room. I sat up slowly. It had stopped raining. Beth was still in my arms, and Boy, did my back ache from sleeping in a wooden chair all night! Ouch! But, I still slowly lifted her, and then placed her back on the chair, as gently and as comfortably as I could.
I walked swiftly, then, and picked up the telephone.
"Hello?" I whispered.
"Hi, Melanie. It's me, mom," mom said. I gasped. I yearned for my mother's touch more than ever now.
"Hi, mom. What's happened?" I asked. My focus was now more than ever focused on the health of Carly. My mom began to cry, and I prepared myself for the worst.
"What is it mom?" I asked. If Carly had died, I had to be the strength and support for my mom to cling to. I had to be.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Melanie. Here's your father." She really did die, I thought. How horrible!
"Melanie, dear?" my father's voice asked.
"Yes," I said, weakly.
"Everything's alright," he said.
"What?" I asked. I had prepared for the worst, and those were happy tears my mother was crying?
"Doctor Jim was in last night, and he told us that Carly had not been hit by lightning, but only extremely startled and therefore, went into a stage of shock, and fell to the ground."
"So…basically, she fainted?" I asked.
"Yeah," dad said. Oh my gosh, I thought. All this trouble over a faint?!? What is this?
"Wow," I said. "How interesting."
"Yeah," dad said, "We're extremely lucky."
"Yep," I said. Why am I still talking? There's obviously nothing to worry about anymore, I thought, my arrogance returning.
"Well, I have to go. I'll see you later tonight. Watch over Beth for me," he said. I rolled my eyes.
"Yep, I will. Bye," And I hung up. I didn't need this. I had actually been worried, and nothing really happened. This was a waste. I looked back over at Beth, and she was still sleeping. I walked over to the window and saw the first breath of day returning. There was life once again. Wait, there was life again. Carly nearly died, if not by shock, it could have been through lightning. How could I have been so blind? I was just tossing it all away, just because it didn't happen. How stupid! I regretted every minute of those arrogant responses I had given to my father. I shook my head and opened the screen door to my right and felt this full-blown gust of wind flow through me and into the room. Beth rubbed her eyes, and looked at me.
"Sissy," she said. I came to her.
"What is it?" I asked.
"Is everything going to be okay?" she asked. I could tell she was still scared.
"Yes. Everything is going to be wonderful," I said. She smiled. That was the sign. I could have another chance. I would, and no one would ever regret giving it to me.
"Would you like to spend the day with me, Beth?" I asked, holding out my hand.
"Sure," she said, taking my hand into her own, "I would love that." Then, she jumped on me, but what can you expect? She is only four. So, we spent the day jumping in mud puddles, adventuring through the house in the all famous game of hide-and-seek, fishing in the creek, finger-painting—you name it. This day was ours.
Late that night, mom, dad, and Carly came home. Dad came carrying Carly in. She was still a little in shock, but she was okay. She demanded to be let down the minute she saw Beth.
"Oh, I missed you so much!" Beth told Carly, running to her.
"Oh, me too!" Carly said. It was so cute to see little children in such sincere love. I turned to my mother, who had just walked in.
"Mom," I said.
"Hi, Melanie," she said, smiling warmly. I don't know what it was, but for some reason that smile didn't seem so fake anymore. I ran to her and hugged her.
"Are you alright?" she asked.
"I love you, mom," I said, unwilling to let go. For the moment, at least. She tucked my side bangs behind my ears, and whispered to me.
"I love you too," she said. I smiled. Then, I hugged dad. And somehow, I didn't have to say anything. I didn't have to apologize, though, I think the smile said it all and the overwhelming sincere look in my eyes. I embraced Carly as well and spun her around. It was so nice to know that the people I loved were the people living.
Carly and Beth both slept with mom and dad that night, but I went back up to my bedroom. No more wooden chair for me—thank-you very much! My window was still open, and my chair was still there. I glanced at them, and then fell onto my bed. How nice it felt. I closed my eyes, and then smiled. A breeze flew into the window and passed through me and onto my bed. The scent was of pine trees, fresh blooming roses and petunias, and the sparkling spray from the brook. The sound I heard then was the light pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof followed by thunder crashes and I couldn't see them, but I knew the lightning flashed. I could visualize it. The second rainfall of April had begun.