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The rain pattered against my bedroom window. Beautiful grey clouds filled the angry sky, swirling around each other. They played a seemingly never ending game of tag. I waited with anticipation for the lightening to come…and then the thunder. That was always my favorite part. The lights were so pretty and odd shaped, and the thunder boomed and banged Amanda and daddy’s yelling away. Sky drums, mom always called them.
Most 6-year olds were afraid of thunderstorms. I wasn’t. My mom and I always sat underneath the willow tree in the yard, watching the lightening and making beats on our laps to the thunder. We tapped on our legs the beats we heard, and turned them into songs, until daddy got home. That’s when the fun always ended. That’s when I made beats on my own, up in my room. Daddy always said it was dangerous to be outside in weather like that. I didn’t think so, and neither did mom.
Whenever there was a storm, before daddy would get home from work, we would do something outside. We would jump rope. Dance in the puddles. We would splash and run, and many other things she came up with off the top of her head. Mom would always come up with something new.
I looked away from the show going on outside and stared at the wall in front of me. My jump rope waited there, propped up on the wall with a thumbtack. I didn’t want to get caught going out in the rain while daddy was home, and Amanda would never do anything with me. I was almost invisible to them.
I gripped the rope tightly and opened the window. Carefully taking out the screen, I climbed down the vines on the side of the house.
I closed my eyes, jumped off half way through, and smiled at the sound of my shoes landing in a tiny puddle. I smacked the ground. Dirt and gravel clumped together and attached onto my fingers. I ran across our driveway and headed straight for the willow tree. Making sure the coast was clear, I began jumping the rope.
“But- John! J-john? WHERE ARE YOU GOING?! DON’T YOU IGNORE ME!” Amanda’s angry voice pierced my ears, though I did not see her. Suddenly, the front door whipped open. Daddy came storming out, his face as red as an overripe tomato, Amanda trailing behind him.
He threw his hands up in the air. “WELL IF THAT’S THE WAY YOU FEEL, THEN-“ he stopped.
I stopped jumping and turned around. Immediately I met my daddy's drunk, evil gaze. He stared at me and began shaking with anger. Slowly, I backed up as close as I could to the tree, careful not to make a false move.
“ANNASTASIA MARIE! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING OUTSIDE IN THIS KIND OF WEATHER?! I HAVE TOLD YOU SO MANY TIMES!” A roll of thunder shook the ground. It was hard to tell if it was the thunder that shook the earth, or if it was just the power of daddy’s voice. Either way, I didn’t like it.
He began to run towards me. I clenched onto the tree, my fingernails digging into the softened bark. He was roughly two feet away from me when Amanda grabbed his arm.
“YOU KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF OF HER!” Amanda got up close his face. This was the first time anybody, besides my mom, tried to stick up for me. I was slightly flattered, because I hadn’t been too sure a few moments ago that she even knew I lived with them. However, I knew she would fail. Just like my mom had so many times before.
“SHE DESERVES TO BE PUNISHED! SHE WILL LISTEN TO ME!” He got loose from her grip and began towards me once again. His lack of hair showed off his temple quite clearly, pulsing underneath his paper white skin. I watched his dark brown eyes squint with fury as he began to extend his chubby arm towards my face.
“NO!” Amanda put herself between us. Her tiny figure looking quite funny compared to his oversized body. I waited for her to back off. For her to be intimidated. But neither of those things happened. They both just stood there.
A few minutes had passed, and finally my dad slapped her. He walked toward our rusty red pickup truck, and started the engine.
Shocked, Amanda just stood there, like she had no idea what to do. My dad drove off, splashing mud and gravel onto my white sweater. The driveway went on for what seemed like forever, and I watched as he drove off into the fog. Amanda walked in his tracks, her high heels clacking in the pavement, but abruptly stopped. I heard her choke back a cry, and suddenly she was gasping. She knelt down, her dark brown hair covering her face. She grabbed her head and began crying.
A rumble of thunder rolled in again, masking her loud sobs. I closed my eyes, and felt the rain hit my face. I imagined my mother was beside me, smiling and laughing along with me as I watched her jump. Her eyes were a bright blue, even if the day was the darkest of grey. Her straight long light brown hair bobbed up and down as she continued to jump her rope. She invited me to join in with her.
I stood there for a second, my eyes still closed, and smiled. I began to jump.