Ep. 2: A Little Rain to Dampen the Doubt
(Originally published on October 30, 2019)
That afternoon, school time was finally over, but the skies were beginning to darken, and thunder was booming loudly.
Raindrops soon followed through as swiftly as students are in a hurry to get out of the storm. Adan and Jacob quickly ran to their bus for the return trip home. Once the bus dropped off, the duo parted ways before Jacob dashed to his house. He went inside, panting heavily as he quickly took off his shoes and hoodie, which got soaked from the rain.
"Man, I'm glad to be home on time before it got worse. Now let's get out of these wet clothes before Mom flips out about the puddle on the floor."
Jacob placed his wet hoodie and shoes on a hook and mat closer to the floor heater to dry out as well as cleaning the puddle before proceeding upstairs to his room. It is painted dark blue with light blue molding along the top and bottom of the walls and his full-sized bed covered in gray comforters with black stripes. Once he changed out of his remaining clothes, he quickly hopped to the bathroom to take a shower. Soon, he was dressed in his gray-striped pajamas and slippers and went back downstairs to meet his mother in the living room, watching TV.
"Hey, Mom!" He greeted.
"Ah, you're finally home," Mrs. Estersen greeted back, hugging him. "It's about time you got back."
"I would've been here sooner except this horrid storm was difficult to escape. By the way, has Dad arrive home yet?" asked Jacob.
He was quickly disappointed when his mother sighed and shook her head. "I'm sorry, Jacob, but your father isn't home yet. He's working late."
"Seriously? I hope he makes it back before this storm gets worse."
Mrs. Estersen put a hand on her son's shoulder. "Don't worry, son; I'm sure he'll be there. However, if it'll make you feel better, I did get a chance to talk to him earlier, and he said he might give you a call you later on."
Mrs. Estersen nodded in response.
Jacob couldn't help but smile in relief. Perhaps there's a chance after all.
After a hearty dinner, Jacob was sitting in bed relaxing as he reads one of his favorite novels. After the hectic day with the news of the school contest, it felt nice to let his mind wander off into a peaceful state, bolstered by how engrossed he was in his book.
All of a sudden, he jumped when a ringing filled the room. He recovered quickly to see that his cell phone was making that sound as it lays on the nightstand. He glanced at it and saw his father calling him. Heart racing with anticipation, he swipes the 'Answer call' side on the phone.
"Hello, Jacob." The familiar voice of his dad replied on the other line. "How are you, son?"
Jacob swallowed. "I-I'm doing alright. Um, h-how about you?"
"Ah, I'm hanging in there. Just been overloaded with work, but once I'm finished with paperwork storage, I'll be set to go pretty soon."
"Oh, I see."
"By the way, I heard from your mom that you were worried about me. Is that true?"
Jacob hesitated for a moment before finding his voice. "Y-yeah. Kinda wish you were back home, Dad; Been missing you a lot."
"Ah, I know, son." Mr. Estersen sighed. "But there's still much work to finish, plus the storm is delaying traffic, so I have to wait until it died down so it'll be safer to drive home. But rest assured, I will be back home, okay?"
Jacob let a small smile grow at the news. "Absolutely, Dad! Hopefully, I'll see you tomorrow."
Mr. Estersen chuckled on the phone. "Indeed. Now you get some sleep, and I'll be home soon. Love you, son."
"Love you too, Dad. Goodbye!"
After ending the call, Jacob sighed with relief, knowing that his father is finishing up soon. He put the phone down and looked at the window. The rain is still ongoing, and for a brief moment, a flash of lightning appeared.
"Gosh, Dad was right about the storm escalating. Guess I'll have to sleep through a night of thunder and lightning."
As Jacob crawled into bed, turned off the lamp, and beginning to relax, he looked out the window once again, listening to the raindrops tapping on the window glass and the booming of thunder.
"I hope you can make it through this storm before morning, Dad." He thought before dozing off to dreamland.
The next morning wasn't pouring hard like it was yesterday, but the clouds are still thick gray, the air is cold and misty, and a drizzle replaced the showers. Inside the Estersen house, Jacob is still sleeping until a little wind blowing from the window startled him up from his slumber. He yawned, stretched, and climbed out of his bed. As he got dressed in his usual attire, he heard a knock and saw his mother opening the door.
"Good morning, Jake." She smiled. "Sleep well?"
"Yes, ma'am. I feel a little better since Dad's probably home now."
Mrs. Estersen flashed a warm smile. "I'm glad you're in a good mood because speaking of your father, he's downstairs in the kitchen right now."
"He is?!" Mrs. Estersen barely stood clear from the door as her son excitedly rushed past her down to the kitchen, nearly fumbled on the last step. Luckily, he caught himself at the doorway to the kitchen, just in time to see his father at the kitchen table with an amused smile.
"Nice landing there, son," He commented, climbing from his chair to hug his son. "Although might I ask that you'd save the trouble running down the stairs. Don't want you to hurt yourself."
Jacob scratched his head sheepishly. "Sorry, Dad, but can you blame me? It's been a while since I've seen you around."
"Heh, good point, son." Mr. Estersen patted his son's shoulder humbly.
Mrs. Estersen joined the two in the kitchen. "It's a good thing you're around since now we can eat breakfast as a family. Hope you two like pancakes!"
Jacob and Mr. Estersen's eyes lit up at the mention of pancakes and quickly helped her prepare breakfast.
Eventually, the Estersens had finished making a complete breakfast that consists of pancakes, two side plates of sausage links and toast slices covered in strawberry jam. They got a plate ready for them to settled down to eat.
As the family enjoys their breakfast, Mr. Estersen turned to his son.
"So Jacob, what's been happening at school? I know I haven't been around that much, but I hope you've been doing alright."
Jacob turned to his mother, who gestured to him to talk to his father.
"Uh...w-well, I've been okay...My friends have been keeping me company and made school tolerable to keep going."
"Ah, that's great to hear," smiled Mr. Estersen. "Nice to see that school hasn't driven you lot insane so far."
"Uh...about that," Jacob trailed off as he recalled yesterday's events. "School might have us going bonkers because there's going to be a school contest in a few weeks."
"A school contest?" Mr. Estersen asked. "What's that all about?"
"That's the thing," answered Jacob. "The principal wasn't too descriptive on what to expect from this contest, only that each class will be competing against each other, with the junior class going against the sophomores and seniors."
Mr. and Mrs. Estersen shared a concerned look.
"It's just...worrying to me," continued Jacob. "My friends and I have already a plan in mind...but I don't know if it'll be enough to survive this contest. Maybe the sophomores, but the seniors? No way!"
Jacob finished with a quick bite of his jammed toast and chewing it in a swift, stressed-out manner.
Mr. and Mrs. Estersen processed about what their son had told them. Jacob hasn't taken the news of the contest well and being in a small group of friends; Naturally, anyone can be extremely nervous when dealing with that type of situation.
A little while later, once breakfast was finished, Mr. and Mrs. Estersen were cleaning up the dishes while Jacob did his morning cares. While cleaning, Mr. Estersen got to thinking.
"Gosh, I had no idea of how much school was putting pressure on Jacob and his friends, and it is a school contest against other classes no less. He's going to need the reassurance not only from his friends but his father too."
Then an idea struck him!
"Hey, that's it! Since this is my day off from work and everything's been handled at the office, what Jacob needs is a day to spend some time with me. Maybe that'll relax him for a while, and a relaxed mind could inspire him to pitch in a plan."
Later that morning, Jacob, now dressed in a heavier-sized hoodie than before, was following his father in the neighborhood. Mr. Estersen, dressed in a dark gray raincoat with a hood and carrying an umbrella, was feeling excited in taking his son out for a walk.
"So, Dad, not that I don't mind spending time with you, but why the need to go out in the rain?" inquired Jacob.
"Because in any day, bad weather or otherwise, I'm used to embracing whatever Mother Nature throws at us. But knowing how yesterday got you all worried, I figured a walk in the drizzle would help ease off the stress of that school contest for a while. "
As soon as they reached the end of the neighborhood, Jacob could see the pattering raindrops on the damped streets as well as the growing streams sloshing through the curbside edges. Mr. Estersen followed Jacob's glance.
"Take note, Jacob. With the rainwater building up, the streams must carry a path until it maps out an endpoint, in this case, the storm drain."
Mr. Estersen pointed at the storm drain where Jacob could see the stream washing through the holes, splashing down to parts unknown.
"Hmm..." pondered Jacob.
Next, they continued onward to a wooded area in the park, just a few blocks from their neighborhood. The more they strolled, they could see the rain was beginning to slow down.
"Now see how the park's trees react to the weather. They may look like they're drying from the heavy rain, but in truth, it's relinquishing their strength on both the bark and plants."
With that notion, Jacob got closer to one of the trees and inspected the bark. It's damp, but he knew that they'd grow stronger as a result of the drizzle. At his feet, Jacob saw a leaf that, surprisingly, was left intact near the stump. He picked it up and looked at it before taking it out to the rain. He observed the drizzle drops seeping past the leaf.
"Fascinating." He whispered in awe.
As father and son finished up their walk in the park, the rain was subsiding, and the sun began to emerge from the thick clouds. They were just about to head back home when Jacob spotted something up in the sky.
"Dad! Look up there!"
Mr. Estersen gazed up and gasped. From where Jacob was pointing, they could see a rainbow arch popping out of the clouds. The side arches are barely covered, but the top curves stood clear and shone brightly among the dark clouds.
"Now, this is the mounting point of the storm's aftermath; Mother Nature's way of telling us that while a rainstorm may seem like it dampens the mood. To me, it represents a feeling that sometimes all it takes is a little rain to wash away the feeling of doubt that comes our way in life."
Jacob continued to gaze at the rainbow stream before he suddenly felt at ease.
Back at the Estersen house, Mr. Estersen returned inside and met with his wife in the living room.
"Honey, we're back!"
"Welcome home!" Mrs. Estersen answered, kissing her husband, but she noticed her son wasn't present. "Where's Jacob?"
"He's still outside on the front porch and said that he wanted to see the sunshine."
"Do you think he eased up on the anxiety of the school contest?"
"Honestly, only time would tell. But when it comes, I would do anything I can to support my son and his friends in their success in the school contest."