So I was inspired to write a bit of a short story today after I watched the storm that rolled into my small town. I hope you enjoy it!
She was standing in the middle of an old concrete parking lot when I first saw her. The cracks spread through the concrete, past her discarded dirty pink flip flops and right under her bare feet. Her hair was what I first saw, tangled up in flowers that flowed down her back. She had her arms outstretched towards the sky, laughing like there was nothing bad in the world.
I parked my old pickup truck in the gravel, turning the broken handle and muttering about what an antique it was. I don’t know why I walked over, because ever since I’ve turned 80 I didn’t really want to see small children. It reminded me that I had no grandkids, and I was all alone. But this time, I went over to the blonde haired girl.
“What’cha doin’ there, honey?”
She turned to look at me with these bright blue eyes, full of laughter as she pointed up to the sky. “I came out to watch it rain.” Like it was obvious and something everyone did.
I laughed a bit, the first time I had laughed that day as I agreed with her. “I guess I did too.”
She laughed with me, and began chatting at me, talking to me about butterflies and such nonsense that I didn’t understand half of. She told me her name was Lilac though, and her favorite color was the color of storms. She told me her Momma drew storms and hung them in her bedroom.
“I’m Becca. Where are your parents, hon?” I looked around, worried that this poor little storm girl would be alone on such a day. She noticed my worry and smiled, as if she understood.
She pointed towards a store where I saw a young couple talking animatedly. The woman had short spiky blond hair, and her hands were on her hips as she laughingly rolled her eyes at the taller man with bright blue eyes. I knew immediately that they were the parents of the little storm child. “There they are. They said I could come out and watch the rain. Don’t worry, I asked.”
“It hasn’t rained yet, sugar.” I got down on my old dark wrinkly knees to look up at the sky with her and wait for it to rain. I hoped that it would, just for her. I didn’t think about driving home in the rain, I didn’t even remember that I had come all the way out to town to get some fabric for my new curtains, all that existed in that moment was me, the storm, and Lilac.
“It will.” Lilac shrugged, spinning around again before sitting down beside me.
She turned toward me again and cocked her head. She studied me for a minute, and I unconsciously tangled my hand in my hair, something I hadn’t done in ages. I guess the gaze of the young make me nervous. Then she said the oddest thing, smiling like I had handed her diamonds. “I like your hair, it’s the color of lightning.”
“Really? I always thought it made me look rather plain.”
“Momma says nobody is plain.” She smiled like that was something everyone knew and took my wrinkled knobby hands in hers. “I think you’re beautiful. I wish you were my Grandma.” Then she looked away and picked a flower as if she hadn’t said something that rocked my very foundations and brought tears to my antique gray eyes.
And then it began to rain. It started off softly at first, and then it began to pour. Lilac stood up, and laughed. She laughed so much, that little storm child. She pulled my hands toward her and grinned widely. “Come on, let’s dance in the rain. It helped you find me.”
We carefully danced across the cracked concrete, a slow waltz that I scarcely remembered from ages ago, that I don’t know how a five year old knew. I think it was the happiest I had been for years. I didn’t want to stop my slow rain waltz with the little storm girl.
Her parents came all to soon to end it. Their eyes sparkled like their daughter’s and they laughed as she told them about me excitedly. They invited me to their house for supper after Lilac proclaimed that it was storming and that old ladies shouldn’t be left alone in storms.
I told them about how lonely I was, about how hard it was on the farm all by myself now that Earl had died, and how cats are lovely but they can’t talk back. I talked more than I had in a long time, and I cried and laughed more than I knew possible. All the while, the rain spattered against the windows. I learned to love the rain that day.
That was the day I met my granddaughter.