As soon as the phone alarm begins to ring at 8 am, Roger switches it off.
Most days – he is up by 7 but enjoys spending an hour before work planning out his day and listening to the noises outside of his apartment. The lovely middle-aged blonde from 3E runs down the stairs in a hurry. ‘One day she will learn to get up earlier,‘ Roger muses. She wears flats, but always carries a pair of heels to put on before walking into the office. The two kids from 5F complain about having to go to school. Their father bribes them with money and promises a fun trip on the weekend. ‘Spoiled brats,’ Roger thinks briefly but then realizes that he should not judge since he does not have kids of his own. Maybe he would let them watch TV and eat chicken nuggets all day every day. Who knows?
He stands up from the armchair in his study and walks to the window across the room. As he raises his hand slowly, he almost prays. The pointer finger pulls the blind slat down and Roger smiles – it looks like it is going to be another fantastic day. The world is in a state of gloom, the sky is overcast, and the clouds look like it is going to- ‘Yes!’ he pumps his fist in victory. It begins to rain. People scurry towards their cars and roofed oases on the sidewalks.
Roger was sickly as a boy and often had to stay home while his peers went to school. During his better days, he would go outside to meet his classmates but they mostly talked about funny things that happened at school when Roger was not around or the latest TV shows which Roger was not allowed to watch. The kids quickly realized that Roger was no good at sports, either, which meant that Roger got to sit on the bench most days. It was not something he wanted to do after being cooped up at home studying for so long. He wanted to be able to run without becoming breathless after just a few seconds. He wanted to score in basketball. Or soccer. Or anything.
The embarrassment of being picked last or not at all rose in him every single day. Because of that, Roger stopped going out to play and instead watched the kids from his living room window. He, too, wanted to run, to laugh, to scream. He wanted to be a kid! Surely, one of the books he was expected to read must have held the solution to his problems. Until he found it, Roger would have to make the best of what he had. And so he often imagined what the kids were saying to one another and laughing about.
One day, everything changed. Roger took his seat by the window in anticipation of the kids running towards the playground. But, half an hour had passed, and not a single kid was sighted. ‘Hmmm…’ Roger wondered if maybe they got tired of playing every single day and decided to spend their time more productively. ‘They will be back tomorrow,’ he assured himself. But they were not. They did appear on the third day, though. From then on, Roger studied the pattern of when the kids were out and when they were not and realized that most people did not like rain. The streets were less busy on rainy days and those adults that were out kept their heads down and walked much faster than usual. Some of them ran if they did not carry an umbrella. ‘You will not melt,’ Roger wanted to tell them but figured they should learn that on their own. Most kids were nowhere to be seen.
‘Why do you not play outside when it rains?’ Roger asked one of the kids at school.
Brian raised his eyebrow. ‘Good one, Rog,’ he replied before chuckling and walking away.
Puzzled, Roger asked Amelia the same question.
‘Because it rains, Silly,’ she answered and shook her head. Roger was so peculiar.
While Roger did not pretend to understand why rain was such a deterrent, he appreciated having an answer. From then on, it was fun to observe the other kids play on sunny days, but Roger was most happy when it rained. It was during those days that he did not feel left out. He could not play with others when the weather was nice, but NO ONE could play at all when the water was falling. Rain became the ultimate equalizer.
Most people do not move to Seattle for the weather but Roger never considered himself ‘most people.’ He really feels at home here. ‘What a great way to start the day,’ he thinks before powering on his work computer. While it boots up, Roger brews a cup of coffee and adds fruits to the oatmeal he made the night before. ‘Mmmm…’ he almost purs.
“Write a story inspired by the word ‘gloom.'”
– prompt used for this 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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