Maggie and Ronnie laid side by side on the floor, on their stomachs, coloring in silence on the living room floor. Their mother was in the kitchen, preparing dinner for the three of them. Outside, the wind was howling, bringing the tops of even the strongest trees to the ground.
“You’re using the wrong color” – Maggie said to her brother.
Even though Maggie and Ronnie were both the same age, Maggie was born a couple of minutes before Ronnie, which gave her an excuse to reprimand her brother whenever she saw fit. In her mind, she was the authority figure when Mom was not around.
“I can use whatever color I want” – Ronnie said and moved slightly away from his sister.
“Unicorns are not brown!” – Maggie said, angry that Ronnie had no qualms about defying her.
“This one is. Plus, have you ever seen one?” – he asked playfully.
“A brown unicorn is just a pony with a horn on his forehead. EVERYONE knows that unicorns are either white, pink, or purple” – she explained.
Stephanie, the kids’ mother, heard them quarrel and so she decided to check up on them. The moment she stepped into the living room, Ronnie repositioned himself to lay next to his sister again, and Maggie shifted her focus back onto her own coloring book. Stephanie smiled to herself. Raising two kids on her own was hard, but she loved her twins very much. Even though they argued like any other siblings do, they cared for one another and would do anything to help this family, especially their mom. They were good children, who knew that life was not a walk in the park for Steph. Beaming with pride, she returned to the kitchen.
Maggie was using a purple crayon to color her princess’ dress when the first drop of water landed on the page of her coloring book. She glanced at the ceiling and then used her sleeve to delicately blot away the excess water from the page before returning to coloring.
“Stop it!” – Ronnie exclaimed and looked at Maggie, pointing a brown crayon at his sister.
“Stop what?” – Maggie asked, puzzled and slightly annoyed.
“Children?!” – Stephanie issued a warning from the kitchen.
The twins looked at each other with contempt for a moment and then turned back towards their coloring books. The next raindrop fell between them.
“Not again” – Ronnie said with a sour face and rolled his eyes.
“Go get the bucket” – Maggie ordered her brother.
“Where is Ronnie running off to?” – Steph asked, coming into the living room after she heard her son speed off.
“I put him on bucket duty” – Maggie explained.
It was then that Stephanie looked at her daughter’s hands and noticed they were now clasped together and in the form of a cup. The initially light rain had intensified and now turned into a downpour. Outside, sheets of water were falling off the roof. Inside, the slight leak became a constant stream. Ronnie came running back with one bucket for the leak in the living room and two more for him and his sister.
“You check the kitchen and Mom’s room. I’ll check both of our rooms. Call out if you need more” – he said, handing one of the buckets to Maggie.
The girl nodded in acknowledgment and rushed off towards the kitchen. Stephanie walked towards the window and started to weep. The sky was a dark shade of gray and the falling rain formed bubbles on the nearby puddles. When she was a kid, her grandma used to tell her that such bubbles meant prolonged rain. It was not a good sign and it wasn’t fair. Her children have not done anything to deserve such faith. For heaven’s sake, they were checking for leaks while they should be enjoying their childhood. They were only six-year-old and should not have to worry about rain falling on their pretty heads as they sat in their living room. Step felt ashamed.
“Am I taking care of them or they of me?” – she asked herself.
She stood there helplessly as they ran around the house looking for leaks and making sure that nothing inside gets damaged by the rain.
“I have a small one in Mom’s room” – Maggie said as she came into the living room.
“There’s one in my room” – Ronnie replied from the other end of the apartment.
Maggie went into the kitchen and noticed a little bit of water on the windowsill. She grabbed a couple of tea towels and placed them on the windowsill to absorb the moisture. Then, she went back to the living room and notified her mother that the dinner seemed done. As all the rooms in the apartment have been checked for leaks and buckets were placed in appropriate places, Stephanie and her two children sat down for dinner.
“Lord, thank you for this meal, for this roof over our hands, and for family” – Ronnie led the prayer.
“Amen” – they all replied.
Steph couldn’t eat. All she could focus on were her children. They chewed their food, spoke, and laughed at the same time. She wondered how they could be so careless, yet so mature and responsible.
It rained all night but stopped shortly before breakfast time.
Both kids arrived at the table with their buckets.
“You shouldn’t have carried it. Those are heavy” – Stephanie scolded the twins.
Ronnie and Maggie said something she couldn’t understand, and then they shooed her away.
Watching from a distance, she realized what they were doing, and she couldn’t believe it.
“I should also count the water from the kitchen windowsill” – Maggie said as she handed her brother a five-dollar bill.
“It still wouldn’t have made a difference. I have WAY more water in my bucket” – Ronnie replied.
Stephanie chuckled to herself. Her kids managed to turn a problem into a game. Instead of crying about their fate, they made the best of their circumstances.
“Come here, you two and give me a hug” – she said and spread her arms wide open.
The kids rolled their eyes and groaned, but then rushed to their mother and squeezed her as tightly as they could.
“I love you” – the three of them said in unison and giggled.
Outside, a rainbow formed.
“Write a story inspired by the word ‘bucket.'”
– a prompt for this week’s CW piece.
P.S. As always, you are more than welcome to use this prompt to inspire your post. If you decide to write something, be sure to pingback to this post so that I can get an alert and check out your piece. (A post on how to do pingbacks can be found here.) If pingbacks are not your thing, feel free to simply leave a link to your piece in the comment section below. The more, the merrier!
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