/   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
July/August 2014

Zhimei Xu
Rain Girls standing by the pool

“You see, if there was no rain, there would be no plants or animals”

Beep. Beep. Beep. I turned over and rubbed my eyes while yawning. I glared at my alarm clock. It looked back at me. Seven o’clock, it said, indifferently. Beep. Beep.

A jolt of energy rushed through from the tip of my toes to the top of my head, as if someone zapped me with an electrical wire. I sat up in bed. “Today is the pool party at Lizzy’s!” I yelped.

A splatter sounded at my window. I froze suddenly, fear written all over my face. The splatter came again. It was louder this time. The splatter turned into a steady patter patter patter. I rushed to my window. It was not the sprinklers. “It can’t be! Not today!” My head plopped on top of my pillow and I groaned. “Rain.” It seems to me that rain loves to come when you’ve planned something outdoors.

“Wake up, Gwyn.” My mom peeked inside.

“I’m up.” I cast the window a dismal glance. “And it’s raining.”

Mom sighed. “Well anyway, get dressed.”

I slid off my bed and trudged towards my closet. I picked out a white dress with pink and orange flowers. It had two thin straps.

Breakfast was disgraceful. I accidently dropped a hard-boiled egg, still in its shell. As I was bending down, my elbow touched something dewy. Next thing I knew, something pulpy and orange was on the floor.

“Gwyneth Williams! You spilled your orange juice,” said Mom.

I groaned. “I hope the rest of the day doesn’t go like this.”

When Mom drove over to Lizzy’s, it started to rain again. Sometimes it would start and sometimes it would stop. The weather seemed uncertain whether to rain or to shine. Our gray Ford turned around a corner and whoosh! The rain suddenly poured down, beating fiercely on the windows of the car.

“What’s a pool party with rain?” I groaned. A thin branch of light popped up from the distance. It disappeared as quickly as it came. A deep rumble almost like a lion’s roar sounded.

“And a dash of thunder,” said my mom. “Well, that means you can’t swim. Water is a good conductor of electricity.”

Our car swerved around another corner. A very long two-story house appeared. “Lizzy’s house,” I murmured. “Bye, Mom.”

“Take care, Gwyn!” said Mom, waving her hand.

I smiled and sprinted across the freshly mown grass. I stood in front of the door, not exactly sure if it was rain dripping down my legs or sweat. I pressed the round white button next to the door. Lizzy’s mom answered. Her chestnut hair was sprinkled with gray specks near the forehead. “Hello. Lizzy’s in her room with her cousins.”

“Thanks,” I replied, adjusting my orange bag.

My feet crawled up a flight of stairs, my shoes going squish-squash. Lizzy’s room was at the end of the hallway, yet I could still hear shrieks of laughter followed by a “My goodness! Is that true?” Not wanting to be an eavesdropper, I pushed the door and went in.

“Hi, Gwynnie,” said Lizzy, smiling her oh-why-hello-I-didn’t-see-you-there smile. Her blackbrown hair was tied into a ponytail and she was wearing a blue and green striped shirt.

“Hey Liz,” I responded. I dropped my bag into the corner and plopped down on the purple beanbag. Lizzy’s cat meowed loudly. “Hi James,” I greeted the cat.

“It would have been a pool party if it wasn’t raining, so I guess we’ll have to do something else,” said Lizzy. “Do you remember last year? Boy, that was fun!”

I smiled as I recalled the event. It was a very hot day, but not uncomfortably hot. The tall palms swayed in the breeze. Children laughed as someone did an explosive cannonball. People scrambled out of the pool as Lizzy came out of the house with lemonade. I remember the sweet-and-sour taste of the lemonade, the ice cubes crowded together on the surface of the lemonade. I recall the cat, James, coming out of his hiding place and terrifying half a dozen girls in the process. Oh yes, I remember that day.

“Too bad it’s raining, though,” said Julie, one of Lizzy’s cousins. Her hay-colored hair was plaited into two braids. She wore a T-shirt that said Go Team! on it.

Lizzy’s other cousin, Mina, sneezed. “You know,” she said, wiping her nose, “sunshine and flowers and a blue sky everyday wouldn’t be so great. Even if it is beautiful, it wouldn’t be special anymore.”

“You have a good point, Mina,” I said. “It wouldn’t be so special.”

“Well anyway, we talked enough. Who wants to play some Wii?” Lizzy asked, rising to leave. A chorus of agreement echoed around. I followed everyone into the living room.

An hour or so passed. The girls were arguing about who got to play, and my ears were starting to ache. Not wanting to make a scene, I went outside quietly. They didn’t even notice. I breathed in the fresh air. It smelt like damp earth. Worms wiggled out of their flooded homes. The rain dwindled down to a drizzle and birds sang their merry songs again. Palms were abundant in the yard, scattered alongside the white fence. Palm fronds reached out like many-fingered hands to grasp every drop of the rain. Pool toys floated on top of the pool like a new style of lily pad.

A drop of rain splashed on my cheek. I sipped my Capri Sun and thought about how much was left and if I should finish it or if I should just wait until I was thirsty. Dancing pink flowers decorated the yard. A faded yellow butterfly floated across the yard. I watched it flutter its delicate wings. The dew on the grass sparkled as the sun began to slowly appear. A cool breeze blew my hair to the side.

This is very peaceful. I feel bad for the girls that are inside. They may not see the way I do, but I don’t care. Let them argue! I smiled. Looking back, I saw the sliding door creak open and there stood Mina.

“Hello!” I grinned at her, trying to be warm and friendly.

“Hello,” she said, trying not to show that she was worn out by the argument. “I came here to enjoy the peaceful surroundings.”

“You like it too?” I asked. I wasn’t surprised. I remember when Mina entered a poem contest. She wrote about the plants and animals in Florida.

“Yes,” she replied, smiling. “I like nature very much.” The topic seemed to please her. “But I like rain too.” Seeing the confusion on my face, she quickly added, “But it is a bummer that it is raining.

“You see, if there was no rain, there would be no plants or animals. No plants, no peace. No peace, no happiness. You see how it’s connected? And besides, who likes seeing sunny day after sunny day, with no variation in between?”

I stared at my shoes, embarrassed at my frustration earlier. “I guess we’ll have to enjoy the rain while it lasts.”

“And sunshine,” said a voice. I spun around. Lizzy winked at me and nodded at the bright shining sun. “Who wants to go first on the diving board?”

Rain Zhimei Xu

Zhimei Xu, 11
Miami, Florida

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