Rain, rain. Go away.

January 17, 2008
By Abby Shumwaya, Ottawa, KS

Rain, rain. Go away.
The rains stayed
Tap, tap. Tappity, tap-tap.
The window was covered in wet little, vertical streams.
The headlights were a blinding blur.
The seats were hard.
Little metal bars held up the cushion.
It didn’t feel like a cushion.
It felt like a sock.
Socks are warm; they’re soft; they’re nice.
A sock won’t stop a metal rod going into your foot.
Music was playing.
Or, rather, it was trying to.
Beethoven slipped out of the speakers.
Maybe someone in the front seat could hear it.
She could not.
Tap, tap. Tappity tap-tap.
It was cold.
Her socks didn’t keep her feet warm.
Her jeans didn’t keep her legs warm.
Her shirt didn’t keep her chest warm.
Her jacket made her arms sweat.
She took it off.
Other people would ask for a blanket at times like this.
She wanted a pillow.
Who would take a pillow over a blanket?
She would.
A blanket took a long time to warm up.
But it only took a second to freeze up.
A pillow always seemed warm.
A pillow would warm her up.
A pillow would cover the sock-cushion.
Maybe she needed twenty pillows.
Maybe she needed a big hug.
Or not….
Tap, tap. Tappity tap-tap.
Her mom’s knuckles were white.
She was gripping the wheel far too hard.
She seemed far too tense.
Maybe it would help to listen to what she was saying.
Maybe she needed headphones.
Why was she here?
Why wasn’t she on an island?
Why wasn’t she fast asleep on a bed made of pillows?
A funeral.
She was headed for a funeral.
Tap, tap. Tappity tap-tap.
Who invented funerals?
They probably had it in the summer, with flowers and sunshine.
Leafy trees and sparkling ponds.
Not on a rainy February evening.
Not at ten at night.
Not in the middle of a forest, which is where they were headed.
Who died?
A father?
A brother?
Tap, tap. Tappity tap-tap.
It was her real mom.
But why does that matter?
It doesn’t matter.
Not at all.
Where would she rather be?
Anywhere but there.
The door.
The handle.
The button.
Tap, tap. Tappity tap-tap.
The door.
The handle.
The door swung open.
She was slipping out of the seat.
Maybe she should have worn her seat belt.
The wind roared.
She fell out of the car.
The door slammed shut.
She fought to stand.
The thunder rumbled.
She stumbled.
She tumbled.
A tree.
A rock.
A hole.
She had been in a ball.
Now she lay flat.
She couldn’t move.
Her legs stayed askew.
Her arms stayed bent at gross angles.
Her head stayed turned to the left.
The raindrops fell on her face.
Drip, drip. Drippity, drip-drip.

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