Puddles and Hope
By Amberfly

 

For the purpose of this story, Daniel is an aware five-year-old, and his guardian is Jack.

~o~

All the way down to the cabin it rained - sheets of fat raindrops battering my side window and making me shiver as the truck wobbled on the road. My hand hurts from gripping the side of my seat, and I want to tell Jack that I’ve changed my mind, that I want to go home. I want to cry.

But I daren’t, this was my idea after all, and Jack is only doing what I want.

“Cabin? Going to be cold there, little buddy,” Jack had said when I asked him if he’d take me.

“I just wanna go, okay? I might be lousy company,” I sniffed through my humiliating tears.

“Well, that’s okay, I like your company anyway is comes,” Jack replied, ruffling my hair. He always ruffles my hair or pats my bottom when he says things like this. I think he forgets I’m not really a little kid sometimes, and I forget to remind him.

I giggled. That’s the best thing about Jack- he didn’t instantly morph into Doctor Phil and ask me gazillion dumb questions. He just thinks it through and then makes up his mind. If he thinks it’s a good idea then we go. But, if he says no, then that’s it.

As we turned into the little dirt road that leads to our cabin, I can see that the rain has made it almost unpassable, and the trees are bending wildly in the wind. It’s kinda scary, but I pretend it doesn’t bother me. Jack is concentrating on driving, and when the truck skids in the slush, he curses under his breath. But I hear him anyway, and when I giggle, he smiles, and looks into the rear vision mirror.

“Did you hear that? Guess when we get to the cabin I should put some pepper on my tongue!” He laughs when I laugh and I’m not so scared now.

“It’s okay; I won’t tell anyone you swore.”

“That’s my boy, what happens in the truck stays in the truck. Except farts, they have to go!”

I giggle, and then, all of the sudden, there it is-our cabin. I can see some smoke coming from the chimney and when I ask why, Jack tells me neighbours are good out here. He tells me he calls them if he needs help. “It’s what good people do, Danny, help each other out.”

I know this is a homily, and he’s really talking about me. Jack is always trying to make me see things aren’t so bad, and that we can get through it. When I yell that it’s easy for him, that he’s not the one walking around with size three sneakers, he looks really sad.

He grabs me to him and the tears fall as I feel the whiskers of his face against my cheek. He speaks really softly and I have to stop crying to hear him.

“Danny, if I could change any of this, don’t you think I would? Don’t you think I’d kick down the gates of hell for you? I can’t though, so you and me, we have to see this through.” He says this and I can see he the tears in his eyes and I cry along him.

The neighbour walks out of our cabin and waves at us and Jack waves back. He likes this lady, I can tell, and he parks the truck while whistling.

“I don’t want anyone else here, Jack!” I sniffle. “You said it’s just me and you!”

“Pardon?” Jack says, puzzled. “Why are you crying?”

“Well,” I reply, “I don’t want anyone else to see me! I can’t stand being treated like a little kid by people I don’t know, I…”

I start crying again.

“Get your boots, and your jacket, we’re going for a walk,” Jack says, but he sounds kind of cross.

“Out there? In the rain?” I shudder.

But I unbuckle my seat and do as I am told. Jack doesn’t act like my dad, but sometimes I know he means business. I don’t ever want to find out what would happen if I made him real mad.

“Things make more sense when there aren’t any distractions other than what nature intended.”

He puts his hand out and takes mine. “Out here, all the angry words are blown away with the wind, so there is nothing cranky left in you.”

“So, if I go inside all the cranky words go with me?”

“Smart kid, let’s go.”

As we walk the wind blows so hard I can barely stand up and Jack laughs, picking me up.

“See, over there? Those flowers only grow here, nowhere else but here. Pretty special, huh. That bird, over there? Only here, only nests here.”

I ask to be put down, real politely though, and stand on my tip-toes.

“Only here? Near our cabin? Really? Wow!”

I think I know Jack is trying to tell me that everything is here for a purpose.

It’s stopped raining now and everything has that freshly washed look about it. Everything looks green and new, and I get it.

“Okay,” I say, “I’ll give it a go.”

“Good boy,” Jack says. “Life isn’t only about surviving the storms it’s about learning to love the rain. It’s about seeing the flowers that only grow after the ice, it’s about the birds that don’t mind getting their wings wet; it’s about making the best of what life has to offer. If you see a puddle, what do you do? Cry? Or do you lift your chin and splash right through it? Learn to dance in the rain!”

“Yep, I get it, now,” I say, laughing as Jack swings me through the air and we dance through the biggest puddle I have ever seen.

It’s hard, and I hate being a kid again, but sometimes, when Jack dances in the rain with me, I love it.

The End

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