I Hate the Rain

September 13, 2008
By
I hate the rain. Big pellets of water plop down on the sidewalk and splatter against my ankles, soaking the bottoms of my new pair of very expensive jeans. I hold my umbrella up to protect my blonde hair, but the humidity has probably already done its evil duty. My hair will very soon be a frizzy mess, and I’ll have wasted my morning making it look perfect. I scoff at the world, as well as the other kids standing at the bus stop around me. One unattractive boy sits on his rear on the flooding sidewalk, not even attempting to cover himself. He is soaked through to the bone. I sneer at him, wondering how he could care so little. Another girl with short, untidy brown hair stands hunched over, holding her pink backpack up over her head. As if that would improve her hair’s condition. Two other boys stand in the street, kicking a Coke can back and forth through a puddle. The bus is late, and I could go and kick that can a mile away to unleash my frustration at being stuck in this horrible rain.

Finally, the big yellow smelly school bus rounds the corner ahead. I curse the bus driver for taking his leisurely time to meet us. When it stops at our sorry little corner, I make sure to be the first one on. The other kids don’t really seem to care about the rain anyway.

After I board the bus, I look down the aisle for Carrie who always saves me a seat. I look from head to head, but she’s not here. As mine is one of the last stops, there are hardly any seats left. I emit a big, frustrated sigh as I start to walk down the sticky isle. It looks as if I may be forced to take a seat next to some stinky, ratty looking boy who probably hasn’t bathed in two weeks. I give another audible sigh as I plop myself down into the seat, making sure to sit on the very edge so as to not get too close to him. Out of the corner of my eye, I look at this unfortunate boy and size him up pretty quickly. He wears a plain white T-shirt under an old grey sweater that is much too large for his frame. His jeans look as if they are hand-me-downs from Wal-Mart, which I might say is a pretty pitiful combination. One of his worn, wet sneakers has a hole in the top of them, and I am mortified to see his big toe poking out. Who doesn’t have the mere courtesy to wear a pair of socks?

His hair reminds me of a brown mop, and the rainwater that douses it now only adds to the convincing illusion. I look away in disgust and wonder why some people can’t take a little more pride in self-image. The bus bumps along, threatening to bust apart here and now with its rattling windows and shrieking brakes. The fat raindrops spatter threateningly against the windows, and Big Toe simply stares out at them like he’s in some weird trance.

After a few minutes, Big Toe pulls out his homework from his bag and begins to scribble on the paper. I scoot farther onto the edge of my seat when he spreads his things out even more. I squeeze my eyes shut and pretend I am anywhere but here. I am in the mall with my friends, buying new outfits and exchanging the latest gossip. No, even better, I am at the beach where the sun refuses to allow rain and kisses my skin with its warmth, browning it into a perfect tan.

A phone is ringing. My eyes open reluctantly and I look over at Big Toe as he reaches into his pocket to answer it. I look straight ahead and listen instinctively.

“Hey Mom.”

Oh, it’s his mom. Go figure. Who else would be calling him? Big Toe’s voice is deeper than I expected. I can hear another mumbled voice on the other end, but I can’t make out any words.

“I’m getting it done now. I didn’t have a break at work this morning.”

Work in the morning? Who works before school?

“No, I won’t have time to take Annie and Mark after school, Mom. I have to go straight to work.”

Work again?

“Just leave Bella and Conner with Aunt Jenna today. I’ll see if my boss’ll let me be a few minutes late so I can get Annie and Mark to soccer practice. Don’t worry. It’ll be fine.”

Annie, Mark, Bella, Conner. My usual solidified expression begins to falter as I become aware of his plight.

“I’m sorry, Mom. I’ll take care of it when I get home tonight. Promise.”

Another pause. I can’t believe this.

“Yeah. See ya later. Bye.”

Big Toe puts his phone back in his pocket and replaces his homework in his backpack. When he has everything together, he leans his head against the bus window and squeezes his hands together as tight as he can. His expression is blank, but his eyes are filled to the brim with pain.

My heart flutters. I look at his big toe inside his ripped sneaker and suddenly I am filled with a strange kind of compassion. The bus nears my school and squeals to a stop. The front doors open painfully. Before I get up to leave, I stealthily place a fifty into the front pouch of his backpack while his head is still turned away. I stand up and make my way down the aisle, and I can’t stop smiling at the way my heart feels so full.

I get off the stinky old yellow school bus and the fresh rainwater showers over me. I walk toward my school, my not-so-perfect hair drenched with rain and I am so thankful for it.





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Sarbear This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 23, 2010 at 12:32 pm
this is really great. keep writing!
 
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