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Saturday Morning Blues: The Struggle
The gentle pitter-patter of rain against my roof and window woke me from my dreams on a lazy Saturday morning. Reluctantly, I stretched my limbs and crawled out of bed. A quick glance at my alarm clock told me that I did not sleep in as late as I had planned. Groggily, I sat on the edge of my bed and rubbed my eyes to convince the light to return to my head. I could barely detect the scent of maple syrup off in the distance and my stomach growled in response. My whole body protested, but I forced myself down the stairs and into the kitchen.
The table was covered with peanut butter, syrup, and heaps of French toast, so I got a plate and sat down. I looked out the window and realized that it was raining much harder than I had thought. Rain was coming down in harsh torrents and the wind was just as unforgiving. The sky was a gloomy gray, giving a feeling of sadness and regret. Large puddles had already formed on the ground threatening to swallow the world whole. I was amazed that there was any way the power could still be on. Well, maybe not, but it was pouring out. I ate my breakfast in silence, contemplating the outside world.
I could hear the sounds of Bugs Bunny in the living room. “Hey I haven’t watched that in forever,” I thought to myself, “Better go watch it before the power goes out.” I made a pit stop at the fridge to grab a glass of milk and went to go enjoy my Saturday on the couch with my little brother. Walking into the living room I had a full look out the window. That’s when I saw him. I stopped in my tracks and stared out the window. Mr. Johnson, my eighty-year-old neighbor, was trying to get across the street.
His wife had been put in a nursing home at the beginning of the summer when she developed Alzheimer’s. Everyday he walked the block and a half to go see her and once a week he carried the most beautiful bouquet of flowers for her. Mr. Johnson was one of the nicest guys in the world. He was always volunteering to help with clothing drives or giving up a weekend to help feed the poor. As long as it didn’t interfere with his time with his wife, he was there. It was so sad to see him struggling against the wind and rain to go see the person he loved most.
Mr. Johnson carried a bright yellow umbrella that offered little, if any, protection. The wind whipped the umbrella this way and that way, up and down, until I was sure it would fly away. All of his balance and weight were resting on his cane. If his cane were to slip he would go crashing to the ground. This was the first big rain of the season and it’s wrath came down fully on Mr. Johnson. My heart was breaking as I watched this dear old man fight the rain and wind. I felt my eyes water up and wondered how love could be that strong, strong enough to face the wind and the rain for someone who didn’t remember you.
All of a sudden I realized that I was pressed right up against the window and that I was crying. I felt a little hand tug at my elbow as my little brother said, “Sissy, why are you crying?” I wiped my eyes and responded, “See that man there? He’s fighting the wind and the rain just to go see his wife.” I could barely hear the T.V. in the background, but I could hear the rain pound on the roof. Mr. Johnson had made it about a quarter of the way across the street and was still struggling. A couple of cars were waiting impatiently for him to finish crossing the road. I could have sworn he was crying, but it could have just been the rain falling down his face.
I looked at the sidewalk. Drops of rain landed in puddles and made splashes. Water ran off the road and poured into gutters that were already too full. Cars crawled up the streets sending spews of water to the left and right, dousing everything on the side of the road. The wind was forcing the rain to come down at an angle, pelting everything. Nothing outside was safe from the rain; everything was soaked beyond belief. No one was outside, no one except for Mr. Johnson.
A sudden blast of wind and rain to my window startled me. I yelped in surprise as I leapt away from the window. “It’s just the rain Delta,” I told myself, “Just calm down, it’s just the rain.” Maybe it was the whole situation happening right outside my house, but my nerves were on edge. I was feeling jumpy and irritable, like one wrong move could set me off. I shook my head in an attempt to clear my brain. Of course, it didn’t work. I was so worked up over what was happening that it consumed my thoughts. A torrent of questions were bouncing around in my head and no one was there to answer them. My heart was pounding in my chest so loudly I thought my brother could hear it’s thump.
My brother! I had almost forgotten about him in the midst of my mental breakdown. I looked over at him and sure enough, he was pressed right against the window trying to understand what was going on. He had a look of confusion on his face, but determination was there as well. Just like the old man, he was trying to defy nature and do something he had set his heart on. “If only the whole world were like these two,” I thought. The old man outside with his wisdom and his unconditional love, and the young boy beside me overlooking circumstances and believing with all his heart, were examples for how all people should be.
I took my brother’s hand in mine and looked back out the window. Looking back at the old man my heart felt a new rush of compassion and love. New tears sprang from my eyes and my hands started to shake. My milk lay forgotten on the end table by the couch. The cartoons had all but faded away into the background. Mr. Johnson had made it halfway across the road and had long abandoned the yellow umbrella. Cars were still waiting impatiently for him to continue to cross the road. “Why doesn’t anyone help him,” I mumbled out loud, “How can they just sit there and watch him?”
BAM! That’s when it hit me. I was sitting here judging all of them for not helping Mr. Johnson, but what was I doing to help? All I was doing was sitting and watching through a window. I jumped up and practically ran into the kitchen. “Mom, can I borrow the car really quick?” I asked impatiently. She got a slight look of confusion on her face but I calmed all fear with, “I’ll explain when I get back, this is really important and it will only take a few minutes!” She nodded her approval and gave me a look that would ensure I would do no wrong.
I grabbed the keys and ran out the door, almost forgetting my shoes. I ran up beside Mr. Johnson hitting every puddle along the way and lightly tapped him on the shoulder. “Mr. Johnson, would you like a ride to go see your wife?” His eyes were puffy, he had been crying like I thought. I continued to look him in the eyes to show him I was serious and he nodded. “Thank you so much,” he replied, “you have no idea how much this means to me.” Silently we walked to my car, and I gave him a ride to the nursing home to see his wife.