The rain cascaded down around me, through my hair, over my woollen clothes and splashed onto the ground. It was quiet, except for the wind howling and the sound of the rain and someone's footsteps, as the person ran through the downpour. Other than that, there was silence. The birds were hiding from the weather, the cars were too far away to be heard, and everyone was inside, hiding from the weather that came so infrequently. That's why I stayed out there. Rain was rare, particularly at this level, so when it did come it seemed like a waste to spend it holed up indoors. Not many people agreed with me though.
In front of me, a puddle formed. I stared at it, a primitive longing building up inside me. I resisted, knowing that I'd get in trouble, or that my stockings would get wet or something. There was always an excuse. That one thought nearly brought me to tears – right there in the middle of the schoolyard. I didn't want to make excuses anymore.
I thought back over my life. I thought back over all the decisions I'd made based purely on what other people would think. All the decisions I'd made because I hadn't wanted to step out of my comfort zone. All those times I really wanted to do something, but was sure I couldn't, because of some silly rule that I didn't agree with anyway.
And I hated it.
All of those missed opportunities, because I was too afraid of something different; something new. All of those times where I'd been too afraid to speak up, all of those times I just couldn't be bothered. All those times I'd been too scared of getting hurt.
The rain kept pouring down and I kept standing there, watching the puddle grow in front of me, still thinking. My thoughts changed. I remembered the times I was happy – all those moments where I had felt lighter than air. I remembered wanting to scream out to the world how happy I was, because I knew if I didn't I would explode. I remembered waking up and being happy just to be alive, getting up purely because there was a day ahead of me – purely because someone loved me.
Yet that wasn't there anymore, but those missed opportunities still were. They were still hanging in my memory, still hanging over my shoulder. I sighed. There were so many things I wished I had done; wished I had had the courage to do. I wanted those memories to go away. I wanted to be five again – because life was so much easier when boys had cooties. I wanted my hardest decision to be wether or not I wore my hair in braids, wether or not I played with that kid over there, whether or not to use pink crayon. I wanted to go back to then.
There is something strangely liberating about jumping in puddles. For a moment, your problems are gone, and all there is, is the sound of your feet and the water splashing up around them. For a moment, you forget about the emptiness and only live in the moment. For a moment, it feels like you are five again.
I heard laughter and I didn't care. Let them laugh. I knew that whoever they were was just jealous that they couldn't forget their life. They wanted more than anything to be me at that moment – the strange girl jumping in the puddle, not caring about getting her hair wet. They wanted to be five again. They wanted to have a moment of complete immaturity.
I forgot my problems and lost my memories in the splashing water. I knew that maybe there was more to this life than death and taxes. I knew that even though I couldn't be five again, I could still act it. So the rain slowed, the wind stopped and my stockings dried, and I was ok, maybe not happy, but better than yesterday. And I smiled.