Monsoon This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 12, 2009
I was surprised when Ali called and invited me to the movies. We weren’t very good friends, though we orbited in the same social solar system. But Harkins had given her some free tickets to a prescreening of “The Island,” and she had to go with someone. It was mid-July, and our rich friends had ditched the white hot Arizona sun for islands with delicious names. Barbados. St. Bart’s. Turks and Caicos.

Anyway, I was convenient leftovers, and I wouldn’t say no to a free movie, especially if it contained Ewan McGregor kicking major clone booty astride a futuristic motorbike. It was the summer before high school, so my parents had to drive us. We picked her up at her place. I remember that we accidentally wore the exact same shade of green, and that she looked better in it than I did.

“So, Ali, how are your parents?” That was my dad.

“Oh they’re great, Mr. Ramos! We’re all having a great summer!” Her normal modus operandi is so determinedly cheerful that it seems pharmaceutically enhanced, but she is really just that happy. I remembered why we weren’t better friends.

“And are you looking forward to high school as much as my daughter?”

At this one Ali and I exchanged a glance.

“Um‚ I don’t know.”

Maybe she wasn’t so bad.

“You should be jumping up and down. It’s the best time of your life, you know.”

Another glance. “I suppose.”

With their duty as inquisitors ­fulfilled, my parents turned up the ­music, leaving us free to indulge in real conversation – a.k.a. talking about guys.

Both of us were madly in love with upperclassmen‚ Cole and Brandt, respectively. It was just about the only thing we had in common, the might of our crushes. They left battle scars: Ali’s narrow shoulders sunburnt from hours spent watching Cole from her roof, my fingertips ­callused from learning jazz guitar to impress Brandt.

But even the minutiae of our potential love lives weren’t enough to last the whole drive. Casting around for a topic, I landed on high school.

“So, you’re about as thrilled as me about being a freshman, huh?”

Ali laughed. “You have no idea how many parents I’ve had tell me it’ll be the best time of my life … and how many high-schoolers tell me it’ll be the worst.”

“I know, right! I’m totally terrified. It’s like, you have to get a job, get a car, get a boyfriend, get involved, get great grades so you can get into a great college so you can get a great job.”

“Exactly. What happens if you don’t get it all?”

There followed a nervous silence, but it was mercifully cut short by our arrival at the theater. In all the bustle of finding seats, we could almost forget about it. Almost.

The movie wasn’t very memorable, a standard summer orgy of explosions and chiseled actors. Afterwards there was about a half hour before my parents’ movie got out, so we needed to find a way to waste time.

We walked out of the theater to wait in the thick, hot night under the dim ­orange lights by the wall of upcoming movie posters with the clusters of other middle school kids. All of us were ­trying to look as though we weren’t being picked up by our parents, like we didn’t even know such things as parents existed – we just popped out of test tubes and were spared all that embarrassment. It was awkward.

Ali and I had run out of safe, ­superficial things to talk about before the movie. I mentioned the already thoroughly dissected subject of our high school expectations, and we found five minutes worth of material, talking too happily and too loudly in our relief. All too soon we were quiet again, and in my desperation I said, “I wish …,” and could not think what for.

I looked around for inspiration, hoping that it lurked somewhere in the stifling, aching night. What could I say? I wish for everything? It was true, but not right. Sweat trickled in that hideously unpleasant way down the small of my back, and suddenly I knew.

“I wish it would rain.”

Unbelievably, impossibly, miraculously, out of the blank black sky a ­solid wall of water whumped down on us. Heat lightning fractured the horizon, and thunder came so loud it pulled at our ribs. The heat that had smothered the sienna desert pulled away, and that wet dirt mineral smell filled the air. For a moment Ali and I merely goggled at each other, matching green shirts and matching expressions of wonder. Then we screamed and danced like dervishes in the warm rain, shouting all our other wishes to the sky, more than half believing that they would come true too.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 54 comments. Post your own now!

~dreamofwriting~ said...
May 28, 2010 at 2:28 pm
this is great! nice work and good grammar cuz bad grammar is hard to read and it's my pet peeve on here!
~dreamofwriting~ replied...
Jun. 20, 2010 at 7:21 pm
I don't know if that was sarcastic or not, but when I am messaging I use different grammar then when I am writing. I enjoy how you didn't use any capitols and said "lol" and put the period outside of the quotation marks instead of inside them.
sundancer replied...
Aug. 12, 2010 at 7:51 pm
CapitAls. Not capitOls. Please, if you're going to go one about grammar, use it correctly. Come on.
sundancer replied...
Aug. 12, 2010 at 7:52 pm
Ok, sorry "on" not "one." My bad.
sundancer replied...
Aug. 12, 2010 at 7:52 pm
Amazing article, by the way! I favorited. :)
Boulangere said...
Mar. 23, 2010 at 9:26 pm
The dialogue sounds so realistic and the rain made me smile. Great story!
writergirl13 said...
Mar. 9, 2010 at 3:51 pm
wow!!! nice piece! it's really realistic!
WRIT3R4LIF3 said...
Mar. 1, 2010 at 10:39 pm
Wow. Awsome piece, i loved it! Keep writing!
^megan:) said...
Mar. 1, 2010 at 12:03 pm
this was really good :) and u kept my attention which is sometimes hard to do haha but you should keep writing your really good
KatJam11 said...
Jan. 16, 2010 at 4:41 pm
I love the ending with the rain. This piece is so good! Keep it up =)
musiclover94 said...
Dec. 27, 2009 at 7:28 pm
That's so cool! It captures the summer before high school perfectly! I love it!
Scarlet said...
Nov. 11, 2009 at 9:41 pm
ah, i love monsoon season in arizona.
excellent story. :)
viarockgirl said...
Nov. 10, 2009 at 11:25 pm
This took me back to the summer before high school. I read the first two lines of this piece and thought it was going to be some tweeny piece of.... But I really got into it. Love it! Thanks so much for posting this; keep doing it.
GirlWithWings56 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 20, 2009 at 10:26 am
Oh my god, I absolutely loved that. It made me smile and want to believe in miracles again. One bit of technical praise: I love that last phrase, "More than half believing", because it's a little confusing, but not in a bad way - more like it makes the reader want to go back and read it again. Like I said, I loved it, and I'm looking forward to reading more of your work!
sallyloco said...
Jun. 28, 2009 at 12:41 am
Very long scroll to the bottom! Anywho, very beautiful!! Loved it!
kellerleopard said...
Jun. 25, 2009 at 8:29 pm
i liked it i was not expecting that ending but it made me smile; most likely because i would be doing some thing like that :)
Mercury said...
Jun. 15, 2009 at 8:04 am
WOW!!! Good job! That really sounded awesome! However it's okay to stretch the truth. I was expecting a little more irony at the end, but whatever. It still was AWESOMENESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
pinksage33 said...
Jun. 11, 2009 at 12:25 am
You did a very good job getting into charictor.
Hannah H. said...
Jun. 10, 2009 at 6:40 pm
Hailey142 said...
May 24, 2009 at 10:05 pm
Very straightforward. Very relatable. Very powerful.
WordLover said...
May 24, 2009 at 5:08 pm
I think you did a really good job tapping into the main character's psyche. You had a wonderful feel for her personality - Ali's, as well. You have a great voice for that in between middle/high school age similar to Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume. Nice job; very well written.
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