I hope you guys are still reading from time to time. I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. I just wrote something for class on thursday and liked how it came out so I wanted to share it with all of you. I was planning on doing this throughout the semester, but class has been a little more relaxed than I expected. I’ve been mainly handing in old stories and revising them rather than creating stories from scratch. This story was inspired by a picture I saw online. Hope you guys enjoy and I hope to post more in the future.
This is the picture:
The green house is tall and modern with pink bricks and ivy running up the sides. On every floor, the wrought iron balconies are wrapped in blue and pink and purple morning glories. A tall tulip tree in the front yard shades the house in the summer, its flowers dropping slowly to the ground with every gust of wind. On the roof, large shrubs and small fruit trees are maintained by the house’s inhabitants. Watering isn’t an issue due to the climate, but a small stream close by helps in times of drought. Here, it can rain a week straight, turning the stream into a small river; or it can stay dry for a month, turning the stream into a foot path.
A woman who lives on the first floor yells up to her neighbor on the fourth floor to keep it down, who’s yelling at her child playing under the tulip tree to come up because dinner will be ready in ten minutes. The boy yells up to his mother, begging to stay outside for five more minutes. He already knows she wants him inside now, at the table, before the water for the pasta is even boiled. She knows he knows and shakes her head as she looks off in the distance. A storm is coming. The weatherman has been saying it would rain any day now. Her arms still ache from this morning, bringing water from the stream up to the balcony. She couldn’t stand the idea of watching her roses wilt away in the heat. The woman on the first floor goes back inside, angry she’s been ignored this entire time. The boy watches his mother go back inside and smiles.
The sun is still shining, but the birds have already disappeared into their nests in the ivy, knowing it won’t be long before the wind picks up. The boy, finally aware of how quiet it is, looks up and smiles harder. He runs to the side of the house to get his new dump truck from the toy store. The river has overflown in the past turning the front yard into a swamp. Across the street, my house sits upon a hill where the water never reaches. I can see the boy’s mother pacing through their kitchen window. I hear everything on these quiet summer days while I read with the window open, their voices coming in with the breeze. I close my book, and watch the sky darken.
The dirt road is blocked off with rocks from the mountain during the last flood. Cars are backed up for miles during rush hour traffic, horns are blaring and angry hands gesticulate out the windows. “There better be a fire if there’s this much traffic!” a man yells. “Who’s going to fix this?” a child asks his mother from the back seat of an SUV packed with bags in the trunk and on the roof. I pass by a long row of cars in my dump truck, driving in the shoulder of the two lane highway. Rain is coming down by the bucketful, causing the tires to slip. I’m mindful of the hill I’m driving on, but keep driving forward. Everyone is waiting on me to haul the boulders off, to let traffic through and get everyone home to their families in time for dinner.
The boy’s mother finally stopped pacing back and forth in the kitchen. Her husband just walked in the door. She immediately helps him take his wet jacket off. They kiss and he goes to the cabinets to take out the rest of the plates and cups. He puts the pasta in the water, stirs the sauce, and tastes it. He smiles and stirs the pasta, then goes to the living room to relax. I watched him leave early this morning, and traffic must have been a nightmare coming home if he’s just getting in now. The mother, realizing how bad its raining, looks at her flowers and drags them inside before they drown. She looks up and curses the sky, she feels her arms shaking as she carries the pots, and curses her aging body. As she’s cursing, her hands lose their grip and she drops one of the pots off the balcony, just missing the woman on the first floor. She tries to apologize, but her voice can’t be heard over the thunder and pouring rain. Her neighbor takes offense and begins hurling insults, her voice known throughout the building for making its presence known.
Slowly and steadily, the rocks are loaded into the dump truck. Everything is going according to plan. In no less than an hour, everyone will be on their way. But something’s wrong. As I listen to music, I can feel the truck lower more than usual. It can’t just be the weight of the rocks. I look out the window and see the tires lower into the mud below me. I honk the horn over and over, screaming at the top of my lungs to stop. Who’s going to pull me out? With what? My heart races and someone comes over. “Look at the tires!” I scream. He realizes and waves his arms, putting everything to a halt.
The curses were hitting the boy’s mother harder than the rain. And they weren’t just for her. The woman on the first floor doesn’t refrain from going after the husband, their child, his job, their car, the apartment (she’s never been up there), their yard, anything coming to mind, it seems. “Look at your child out in the rain!” she yells. “You obviously don’t care about him, whether he lives or gets sick and dies. God’s watching, and you’ll burn in hell for it! Are you okay with that?” In a fit of rage, the mother goes back inside, slamming the sliding glass door. She reappears outside and knocks on the woman’s door. The door opens and the boy’s mother spits on the floor between their toes. The boy’s father raises the volume on the television.
“Get here now!” she yells. “I told you before to come in. Go right to your room. You don’t eat tonight. Not with us.”
Help never comes, and everyone quickly disappears. The horns from all the cars are blaring simultaneously. I cover my ears and shut my eyes. Nothing works, the sound comes from all directions. Everything starts spinning, like I’m being dragged along through all the chaos, forced to feel everyone’s suffering in the mile-long backup. I lose all control.
The mother drags her son up the stairs and back into their apartment. He runs into his room and waits for the storm to be over before he dares to come back outside. Out his window, he sees his dump truck sink into the mud. The rain is still falling, but the birds now come to the windowsill. With the storm being over, they now have a chance to eat and stay warm through the night. Leftovers, like usual.