CW: Save it for a rainy day. (1/2)

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.
[Source: BlogBattle]

***

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!

Stay golden,

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***

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29 thoughts on “CW: Save it for a rainy day. (1/2)

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    1. I laughed out loud at the ‘correct’ spelling of Roger. I do have to say that I did think of you as I wrote this.

      While Seattle is the stereotypical rainy city, I found that there isn’t that much rain volume there. And, that there are actually some other cities in the US with more rain days (like Portland).

      Like

  1. Wow, what a beautifully crafted tale. I love how quickly we’re able to connect with Roger, who has always felt disconnected from others in his own way, but who still enjoys watching them. It makes him very relatable. I also enjoy how the idea of the rain as an “equalizer.” Nice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!

      While not everyone likes rain, feeling disconnected seems to be something we all experience at some point in our lives.

      And I’m glad you picked up on the equalizer. I was pretty pleased with it when it came into my mind.

      Stay golden!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmm…it may no longer be true, but when I was a kid growing up in Seattle, we learned to play in the rain. I just put on my galoshes and grabbed my umbrella. But that was a time (70s) when kids usually went outside to play every day. I suppose you’d have to talk to someone who lives there now, but it’s likely that it’s not the case anymore. We also had empty lots to play in, and I doubt there are many of those left in Seattle by now.

    Also, I was confused until the end as to whether Roger was an adult or not, but perhaps that was intentional. Nice start. : )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. An umbrella? Wouldn’t a rain coat be better? How did you play with one hand occupied at all times?

      The play areas and format has definitely changed in the past couple of decades. I’m not sure if it’s a positive change…

      There was a point in time when I was wondering if the present vs. past and young vs. old would be clear enough for the reader but then I figured that mentioning that he works in the second line would help. The beginning is in present tense while then I mention him as a boy and the tense switches to past. The story ends with him starting work, so we have come full circle.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t completely remember how we played in the rain, other than a lot of splashing in puddles. And then there’s walking around and talking. And attempting hopskotch in the rain is an interesting variation. But anything with a ball was right out. : )

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha! I kind of like this guy. An observing shut-in who likes the rain… I can empathize. Or at least sympathize.

    I did notice one of your sentences was facing an identity crisis though. “Roger was a sickly as a boy” might need a little help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ‘Or at least sympathize.’ I like that little nugget. I think we (myself included) often misuse the word ’empathize.’

      Hahahahah Identity crisis indeed. Was he a sickly little boy or was he just sickly as a boy. These are the tough choices we as writers face every single day. Thank you for acknowledging the battle 😉 Corrected! (and even a couple typos, too!)

      Liked by 2 people

  4. There is a distinct feeling of gloom in this story that juxtaposes well with Roger’s flicker of joy over the rain. There’s another feeling I can’t quite put my finger on – this is a first part, which contributes to the fact it doesn’t quite feel like a whole story, and yet in a way it could have stood alone as is. In other words, you’ve accomplished a strong pull between opposites here, which is a great play with tension. And continuing along that vein, I empathize with Roger and yet distrust him – his ‘misery loves company’ philosophy makes me suspect his motives. Well done, and now to move on to part two!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Only happy when it rains…song by Garbage. I think Roger would like that tune. Shame I read these backwards, however knowing the outcome oddly makes me view his upbringing as the power behind the tipping point. How can you reference “normal” behaviour if you’re not part of it growing up? He oozes MH instability even here. Not belonging, can’t watch tv or maybe a few other things ordinary kids do at home like having friends over. Part of that suggests strict parents too. None of these give the balanced upbringing. He seems lonely and yet content with it while still building deep resentment.

    Great story telling Sam.

    Like

    1. Yes, I agree that Roger would like that song.

      Now that I think about it – sometimes reading things backward (part 2 before 1) does not make for a worse experience. Finding out the why is always interesting to me.

      Thanks for reading and your feedback, Gary!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I just love this piece. You really are an excellent writer, Sam. (Sorry I took so long to have enough time to read your post, and I thoroughly enjoyed it – I’m dealing with some complex family issues, as explained in my last post. At least I got to catch up with you today). I love that Roger is different – he sounds just like I was at school at that age. I hardly had any genuine friends to play with at school; sickly, meaning lots of time off, and painfully shy. Fortunately, I think I’ve turned out okay now, but you’d have to ask my current friends about that! I found I very quickly slipped into the adult role at the beginning and then got so absorbed with Roger as a child that I almost forgot he was now an adult, so I liked the shifts in time there. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing this. Ellie

    Liked by 1 person

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