Sad Boy in the Rain
Living in the city, we rarely paid attention to what really happens outside at night. We usually mind our own business regardless what goes on out on the streets. We typically watch a movie, sit and talk or just get on the laptop and spend the time in peaceful moments. The television is usually left on while we are doing the internet thing and the mind wanders between the internet and the movies playing.
Outside, the evening was darkening quickly. The clouds had been gathering all day long and we knew the sun would be far gone by the end of the afternoon as clouds were darker and you could hear the rumbling of thunder in the distance.
A gathering powerful dark clouded rainstorm was announcing its presence as it approached from the east side of the city that is covered by a high ridge on the rock faced rugged mountain facing the house about five miles away.
Dark and ominous, the lightening came to begin a wicked light show as it hurled the rain over the mountain with a driving current of air of hurricane force that was bending trees almost all the way to the ground and some were shaking at their roots. The weather became more intense. Intuition told me the city was in for a torrential time tonight and the streets would be flooded as they did the last time the mountain brought these summer rains.
Flashes of light, grumblings of thunder persistent and shook our house. The lights began to flicker and the living room lit up with an eerie neon glow. The wind was banging the tree branches against the windows and you could hear the smaller things not bolted down, being tossed in the wind and strewn throughout the yard.
Thinking this was going to be the mother of all storms before, we battened down the hatches and got out our flashlights and batteries just in case we lost our power. The puppy had found a safe place under the coffee table and covered up her ears as the thunder became blastingly loud, trembling and quaking the house for a moment or two.
Living here in Southern California, it hardly rained and there was more concern for earthquakes than severe thunderstorms but this night, the mood was different. Maya was two years old and she had never experienced a hard driven rain like this before so she found a little place to hide away from the loud thunder and lightning.
We had a hard time getting comfortable and the satellite dish had turned off a time or two already as we sat there, waiting for the storm to kill the power once and forever like the last time we had a night like this. The rain was falling and falling hard. It was pouring so hard you couldn’t see outside the windows.
The winds were driving the rain into bizarre patterns that zig zagged and in furious and numerous dumpy eruptions of rainwater as powerful as it was, forcefully pressed hard by the wind that was constantly blowing harder and harder as the night went by.
A huge drumming of thunder rattled the windows followed by a brilliant, retina burning flash of lightning which startled all of us. I opened my eyes and sat up to look out the window overseeing the backyard deck, and noticed Maya was hiding under a pillow that had fallen off the couch and everybody else was intently looking through the sliding glass door in the kitchen facing the back yard where a small lake was forming.
The water was rapidly rising. I knew everybody was scared to some degree because of the violent storm. Just then, another loud applause of thunder followed quickly by a brilliant display of lightning that scattered along the ceiling and throughout the room.
Suddenly there was a loud knock on the front door and Maya jumped up and as I followed her I was wondering who would be standing at the door during this downpour this late at night. I opened the door cautiously fearing a malicious stranger would try to enter the house to get out of the storm.
There, standing in front of me, under the small front porch cover, stood a drenching wet teenaged boy, skinny and shivering with quivering lips asking if we could give him a ride to the bus station.
I could see him blinking, trying to rid the water from his eyes as it poured down his face. It was if he was pleading with us, but I could not hear what he was saying because the pouring rain was so acoustically loud and the thunder claps were relentlessly booming.
He looked beat up as the wind and the rain had pummeled him with all their might from side to side pounding his frail body with body blows that must have hurt him badly as he was not wearing a coat and dressed in a saturated white tee shirt and soaking wet jeans.
He had long unkept and tangled hair. I motioned for the boy to come in and sit down in the kitchen where I gave him a hot cup of chocolate with foamy marshmallows floating at the top. His eyes were wide open with fright. He was scared to death and it showed. His hands were shaking badly, trembling with panic or stress.
Outside, the thunder kept growling loudly, the lightning exploded with another brilliant flash of bluish white light. The boy stood looking directly at us. His lips moved as if he wanted to speak but no words came out of his mouth.
He was in semi-shock and it was because he was near beaten to death by the rain and wind outside. He slowly sipped on the cup as his face was beginning to return to its color as he was pale faced with lips that were turning blue.
With each flash of light, the whites of his brown eyes disappeared into dark holes on his face, and his opened mouth muttered some words asking the same thing – he said with his words stuttering a bit, “can you please take me to the bus station so I can go home.”
It was obvious the boy came out of the darkness and appearing from nowhere. The rain was still pouring heavy and pelting the ground, sometimes mixed with hail, and the best I could do was to tell him to wait out the storm and just relax and change into some dry clothes.
Luckily, I remembered, I had found some young boy’s clothes inside a box in the closet so I took them out and threw them in the dryer to unwrinkled them and warm them up. Little did I know the storm would last almost all of the evening as it was reported to be a heavy downpour on the weather channel with local flooding possible overnight.
By now, the television station had severe weather bulletins advising people of local flooding and other high water concerns. It seemed like this was going to last awhile and driving anywhere was out of the question until it let up a spell.
The boy was stiff as a board. He was cold and his heartbeat could be heard by my ears and seemed like it was competing with the thunderstorm outside. Maya continued to stare towards sad looking boy with tears in his eyes. I could hear her give him a low growl but her tail was wagging at the same time.
She was not afraid of this boy, instead she want him to pet her in the end as she edged up towards him as he warmed up in some dry clothes that fit him snug and close-fitting.
After another two hours or so passed, the thunder has silenced some but only after the thunderstorm rumbled its way into the distance, and the grumblings and the flashing of light became further apart. We went to the garage, and in the meantime, the wife had made a sack lunch for the sad looking boy who never gave us his name.
The mood was somber and the young boy was grateful for the food and clothes. He shook my hand and gave my wife a hug. About almost midnight, we headed out the door as the rain was turning to a light drizzle and the light show had done everything it could but ran out of energy and turned the sky into complete darkness.
The main thoroughfares were clear and the side streets were filled with debris that had washed down from up the hillside homes and turned these side streets into small streams.
We stopped at Starbuck’s to get him another hot cup of mocha and headed for the Greyhound station. His lips had stopped quivering but the blueness never turned pink or his flesh back to a normal color. He remained pale and ashen but he did break a smile as he opened the door and headed into the bus terminal.
The buses were delayed because of the storm but the sad boy said he would wait and thanked me for the clothes, the ride and the hot chocolate once more. I left the station and never looked back. We had been told that the El Nino was returning and that it might rain all week if the front remained stationary somewhere off the coast.
I went to work the next day and told my friends about the sad boy in the rain who asked me to take him to the bus station so he could go home. It could have been a vivid dream but the wife and the dog said it was true and real so I couldn’t make it up and make anything more out of the experience for the time being.
I never saw the boy again. The weather was improving and the storms we had were not as severe and violent as the ones earlier this week.
One evening, while it was raining lightly, I was going through the closet, pulling clothes out of some boxes to repack them as they were left there for some reason by a family who had lived in this house before us and I was taking these clothes to the Salvation Army for them to give to the homeless.
I pulled some sweat shirt and pants out of the large box in the corner of the closet and a photograph fell out of one of the sweat pants as it dropped onto the floor. I picked it up, after packing the sweaters in a box.
Staring back at me I recognized these eyes as the frightful eyes of the young boy I saw the night of the dreadful storm. I knew it was the same boy. I would have recognized him anywhere. But in the photo, he was vibrant and alive, smiling in a group of what I had assumed was his parents and perhaps his brother. I sat and looked at the photo, thinking about what had happened to the boy in this house.
The photo almost changed my decision to repack the clothes and diligently, I packed them up and sealed the boxes, getting them ready for the drop off at the Salvation Army center. In the meantime, I had placed the photograph in my shirt breast pocket and decided to go next door and ask if they knew of him and who he was.
Looking outside, the rain had turned into a light drizzle, so I dashed over to the neighbor’s house, with the photograph in my pocket. Lucky for me, they were home. I knocked on the door and they graciously recognized me and waved me in out of the drizzling rain. He offered me a cup of hot coffee and I accepted so we could sit and talk in the kitchen.
I told him the story of the sad boy in the rain the other night, and that I had found some clothes in the closet when we moved in and was repacking them for the Salvation Army when this photograph fell out of the clothes and onto the floor.
The neighbor looked at the photograph and with a strange look on his face, he said, “are you sure this boy came by here a few days ago and asked you to take him to the bus station?” I said, “Yes, I am certain that was him.”
Shocked my neighbor said, “That boy died in a car accident a couple of years ago, and it was one of the reasons his family had put the house up for sale.” The wife, who had previously been eavesdropping while stirring some mixing batter for a white angel cake, stopped and slowly put her spoon down.
She turned to look at me, and her face was pale, her mouth wide open. She had a frightful face and stuttered to speak. “Are you sure, are you positively sure?” I sensed fear in her eyes as her eyes began to tear.
At the same time, my neighbor had also changed his mood and had turned very serious. I could see they were both visibly upset so I left and told the wife what they had told me. She said to me, “so the sad boy in the rain is was really dead?