Marjorie stood at her kitchen window, watching the raindrops gently assault the window and then roll down to the bottom. The trees in the yard always appeared a more vibrant green during the rain. She never just stayed in one place to appreciate the lush foliage until there was rain. But once the clouds burst, she would always find herself in the same spot, holding the same cup of coffee, looking at her same world with the same eyes as if it were all brand new to her.
“Mommy! Mommy! I’m ready! I’m going to go play now!” Marjorie turned around to find her daughter dressed in her bright yellow rain slicker and matching rain boots. Marjorie was not the only one who loved the rain. Zoey was always the most well-behaved and eager child whenever it rained. She would do any chore or swallow any vitamin if it meant that she could spend just five minutes splashing around in those bright yellow boots.
“Alright, Zoey. Don’t forget to put up your hood and stay in front of the house where I can see you, please. I’m going to set the timer for eight minutes, okay? We don’t want you to get sick from being out in the rain too long. I’ll come get you when it goes off.”
Zoey smiled and waved at her mom before rushing out the side door and jumping into that first glorious puddle. The splash that she made was beyond satisfying and worth the bath that her mommy would make her take when she got back inside. She was about to jump into another one when she heard a siren racing down the street and rushed over to the bounds of the sidewalk to see the action.
She stood on her tiptoes as an ambulance stopped at the house across the street. She turned back to see her mom in the kitchen window, looking concerned. Zoey waved to show her that everything was fine and her mom waved back with a relieved smile. Part of Zoey wanted to comfort her mom but the other part of her knew that she had only six minutes left at best and she did not want to miss any of the excitement.
She watched as two EMT’s ran inside the house with a stretcher. There was a loud crying that could be heard now. Zoey wondered what could be happening inside that house. The crying sounded like it came from a woman, maybe a mommy. Did her child do something really bad? No, she wouldn’t have called an ambulance for that. Maybe her child was really sick and she didn’t know what to do. One time when Zoey was three she had a bad flu and Mommy got really scared and cried. The memory of that time made Zoey really sad and suddenly she felt the cold of the rain.
Inside the kitchen, Marjorie also wondered what was happening across the street. She too heard the cry through the windows and it hit her straight in the heart. Her neighbors across the street, the Harrisons, had a son just a year older than Zoey. She was also remembering the time that Zoey was sick with the flu. Zoey had ended up in the hospital and Marjorie had been afraid that she would lose her baby girl.
Marjorie poured herself another coffee as she tried to warm the chill that had overcome her as she watched the neighbor’s house for any sign of what could be happening inside. She wanted to know that everything would be fine. No one wanted to know that a child could be in pain or suffering. And it was every parent’s worst nightmare to think that they could lose their baby. Her breath was starting to quicken at the thought without her knowledge when suddenly the timer went off.
At first the sound of the timer was foreign. The arrival of the ambulance had changed the tone of the morning and Marjorie had forgotten that she had set a timer so that Zoey could go outside to play. She took a deep breath and turned off the timer above the stove as she walked to the side door.
“Okay, Zoey! It’s time to come back inside, honey!”
Zoey heard her mommy calling out to her and finally tore her eyes away from the house with the ambulance. She knew that once she was inside she would have to take a warm bath but today she actually would welcome it. She ran into the house and shrugged off her beloved raincoat while she pulled off her boots. As soon as she was free of her wet clothing, she lunged at Mommy and gave her the biggest hug possible.
Marjorie squeezed Zoey right back. She breathed in the smell of rain in her hair and said a silent prayer of thanks for the health of her child. She could spend all day holding Zoey to her if she would let her.
“Hey, what do you say we have some hot cocoa and watch some cartoons together before your bath?” Zoey looked up at her Mommy and smiled. That sounded to her like the best day ever. And that is exactly how they spent the rest of the morning, completely unaware of who was in the ambulance as it drove away from the house across the street.