It rains a lot here.
I'm not complaining, no, not at all. I like the rain, but my favorite time is right after the rain's done. It's nice and cool, and it has that perfect smell...it's practically the only time I can ride my bike these days. It isn't the same if it isn't right after the rain. Guess I'm spoiled by it.
The rain makes the whole town really pretty. Things that are wet just have that look, you know? I see practically the whole thing every time I go out to ride, but I never get bored of it.
The town's got a lot to see, but my favorite is the park. Everyone loves the park. It's got everything! Everyone has a thing to do there.
It's got a bunch of sports fields, some tables and chairs if you want to sit down, a playground for the little kids, a path for walking on - or for me, biking on, I guess. Oh, and there's the mud.
See, right near the middle of the park, there's this big patch of mud. It can stay wet because it rains so much, so it's always really muddy. No one but me ever goes near it, not to mention walking in it.
Actually, that's not true. I've seen one person walk in it, besides myself. It was a little kid, couldn't have been more than five. Short, too, not even up to my waist - and I'm not exactly the tallest girl you'll ever see.
I remember I was just riding my bike after a rain, nothing special about it, just another day, and I passed the mud. Now, get this - I passed the mud, and you won't believe what I saw in it.
There were footprints! Smaller than mine, going straight down to the center of the mud field. No footprints going back, either, just straight in. Not even someone in there, or even anyone around. Just some footprints.
It kinda spooked me, so I just kept going. I had no clue who made those footprints.
I found out who was doing it the next time I went out, only a day or two later. I saw this little kid, right smack dab in the middle of the mud. It was nuts - I'd never seen anyone go in there before, but here this little kid is, down to above his ankles in mud, just standing right in the center. Crazy, right?
So of course, I had to know what this kid's deal was, so I yelled out to him.
"Hey!" That's all. He turned his head and looked at me, and he waved with the brightest smile I've ever seen.
"What're you doing in there?" I asked him, and he just shrugged.
"Can you get out?"
He was quiet for a bit, then he said again, "I dunno." And he laughed, and I started laughing too. Not even because what he said was particularly funny, but this little kid's laugh, it was so contagious. I absolutely lost it, almost fell off my bike.
I laughed for a while, I don't even know how long, but I had to pause when I heard a woman yelling. Must have been the kid's mom, because he turned towards it really quick, and he looked guilty.
"Get OUT of that mud! It's dangerous."
I figured the kid was in trouble, so I got out of there. Nearly crashed my bike into a tree, I was still laughing so hard. It's a miracle I didn't scrape my knee or something like that.
Even if the kid got in trouble, I saw him again the next time, same old spot right in the middle of that mud. Of course, I had to talk to him again, too.
"Hey!" I called out. "Remember me?"
And he waved again, same old big, bright smile. "Hi!"
"Did you get in trouble last time?" I asked, and he scrunched up his face to think for a bit, and I nearly cracked up right there.
"No." It took a few seconds for his response. "She just told me not to do it again."
"But you're doing it again!" I was incredulous, and he started laughing.
"Yeah!" And there's where I lost it. We must have been laughing for a good minute, just him standing there and me on my bike.
I got myself composed finally. "Hey, you should probably get out of there. Don't wanna get in real trouble, right?"
"Hmm...okay." And this kid, you won't believe this - he started walking backwards, putting his feet right on the footprints he made walking in, and when he got out, it looked just like one set of tracks.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't sleep a little bit easier, not having to think about those footprints I saw the one time anymore.
Once this kid was out, he turned to me, and he looked so proud of himself that I started to laugh again.
"Look!" he yelled, and I nodded, still giggling.
"Yeah, gotta admit, I'm impressed."
"Wanna try it?"
I grinned. "Next time. These are my good shoes, I can't get mud on them."
The next time I went out, I wore some old boots - barely fit me anymore, but perfect for walking in ankle-deep mud.