It was as though there was an enormous shower head in the sky and someone had just turned the taps on. Not one of those cheap shower heads either, but the kind with a hundred nozzles and twenty different settings. At the moment it seemed to be set to a massaging jet spray, although the fact that the water was ice-cold ruined any spa like effect it may have had. Which was a shame, because how she could use a nice trip to the spa today……or any day for that matter. “Today especially though”, she thought to herself.
Staring off for a moment, watching the rain fall, her mind drifted. She didn’t own an umbrella. That realization manifested itself as she cowered just inside the automatic doors of the grocery store. “Whoooosh”, the doors slid open. The sound didn’t startle her so much as the water that sprayed across everything from her deep blue blouse to her knock off Michael Kors shoes. The shoes being a gift that her daughter had insisted on getting her because she saw her mom eying them and they were so pretty. Instinctively she took a step back from the glass doors. The rain seemed to be moving horizontally more than vertically.
For a brief moment she wondered if there were any supermarkets with underground parking in the neighborhood. Before she was able to give serious consideration to the question the doors whooshed back to life, breaking her concentration. “Okay Summer, you can do this. It’s not that far..”, she said aloud, hoping the words would convince her. They didn’t though. What they did accomplish, was to lead her to begin counting. “Six…….nine……..thirteen. Thirteen spots away!”. It hadn’t seemed so far when she got there, of course it hadn’t been raining when she arrived either.
That about summed up the day didn’t it? Sure it started out promising, although, the promise was short-lived. Today was Friday….it was also Summer’s day off. Not to mention it was payday, which was a blessing since her bank account had been drained by rent, utilities and buying birthday presents for Tasha, her bubbly and sweet daughter. She turned seven on Tuesday, and Summer bought her an ice cream cake, ice cream cake being both of their favorites. There was also the journal she got for her to write in, and of course the book Tasha had been asking for. ‘Bread and Jam for Frances’. Summer was so proud of her daughter for being so interested in learning and writing, she was such a bright little girl. Summer would have bought her more, she would have spent every penny she had on Tasha. In truth she did spend everything she had on her. Which is why this being Friday, more to the point, payday, was so important.
Summer was to drive to work in her beat up, but miraculously still running car, and pick up her cheque. Then she would spin over to the bank to cash it, stop to get some gas and finally pick up groceries before getting home to make dinner for the two of them.
“Whoooooooosh”, the doors opened and closed again.
She had picked up her cheque, making small talk with the other girls at the florist. That’s where she worked, a florist. It wasn’t much, but it was steady and it allowed her enough to get by. When she had said her goodbyes and got in her car she noticed the gas light staring at her. This was going to be cutting it close, but she needed to cash her cheque before she could put gas in so off she went.
Once that was done, cash in hand now, she sat in her car thinking…..thinking about where the closest gas station was. Closest being a relative term, since there really weren’t any all that close. What happened next would lead to Summer sitting in her car, on the side of the road, sobbing softly to herself. “Empty”. Her tank was empty, both figuratively and literally. She cried for a few minutes, not because she ran out of gas per se, it was just that she seemed to be running out of gas in general lately.
Eventually she composed herself and walked to the gas station. Looking back now she realized it could have been worse, God could have been having a shower with his fancy massaging jet spray shower head, like he was now. She stood there in the doorway of the supermarket now, crying for second time that day. This time she wasn’t alone in her car though, but she felt alone just the same.
Nobody seemed to notice her standing there sobbing, they just ran past her, trying to get out of the downpour. Minutes passed, she cried softly, thinking about how hard it had been since he left her, abandoned her. Abandoned both of them. How she was left to struggle with the bills and how she wasn’t sure she could spend the time she needed to spend with Tasha. She loved her, even more now that it was just the two of them. It had bonded them, made them stronger in a way. Although she didn’t feel particularly strong right now.
Behind her a young boy, no more than four or five was walking up to the doors with his dad, a cart full of groceries being pushed equally by both of them. The father opened his umbrella and “Whhhoooooooshhhh”, off they went into the shower. “Who doesn’t own an umbrella”, she thought again, leading to more tears streaming down her cheeks. She had never felt so alone…….so hopeless as she did right now, cowering inside this grocery store, invisible to the world. She cried for a few more minutes, cold and alone.
“Whooooooosh”, once again the doors announced themselves to her.
This time though the man coming didn’t rush past her into the store……he stopped and stood beside her. It was the same man who had just adventured out with his son into the monsoon. He stood beside her, and his son looked up at him with those eyes that only small children and puppies can get away with. The man bent down and gave the umbrella to this boy, who then, beaming with pride, turned to her and reached out; offering it up. “My daddy said I could give this to you”, the boy said sheepishly. He then handed it to Summer and his father quickly scooped him up, “Whooooooossshhh”. Without another word, off they went running and splashing through the puddles, all the way to the other end of the parking lot.
For the third time that day Summer began to cry, left speechless by the simple act of kindness. “Whooooosh”, the doors opened one last time and Summer pushed her cart out into the rain, her umbrella held proudly over her head as she walked the thirteen spots to her car.