Welcome back! Today I’m sharing part 2 of the story I began to share last week.
And I also promised a reveal of the title
because I couldn’t think of one last week . So, without further ado, let me introduce ‘Praying for Rain’ (part 2)! The title is short and simple, and, I think, suitably captures what this is story about. I hope you enjoy the conclusion! 🙂
Another week passes, then another. The horizon remains empty, and the house grows quieter. Everything takes on a dreamlike quality, as if we are moving through a sea of molasses. It takes ten times as long to do my chores. It’s just too hot.
The sky stretches above the fields, tight and blue.
The sun mocks us.
Dust covers everything.
I walk with Papa to the fields. Everything is the same. The plants droop, the ground beneath is cracked.
The corn is dying.
Papa caresses a leaf as he always does, tender in his devotion to his crops. But this time, the leaf doesn’t whisper in his palm. It gives a small broken crackle, and falls apart. Papa stares at the leaf in his hand. I watch, heart aching. Then slowly, he balls his fist around the leave, squeezing until his knuckles turn white. When he opens his hand, dust falls like rain to the dry ground at his feet.
He turns and walks away.
I am left alone, surrounded by acres of corn that has given up hope. My heart aches fiercely behind my faded calico apron. It beats until I feel as if it will choke me. My throat tightens, and tears well over.
“Why?” I whisper. I turn in an aimless circle, trying to comprehend the loss of hope as the cornfields blur in a haze of hot tears.
“Why?” I say it louder, as the tears fall faster.
“God, don’t you hear me?” I shake my fist at the unrelenting sky.
“We need rain. Can’t you see? Just look!” I gesture angrily at the fields around me.
“We need rain.” I cry harder, tears rolling down my cheeks. They create shining tracks on the film of dust that covers me.
“God! If you are there, if you can hear me, then answer me!” I scream up at the sky.
“Send us rain!”
Then I collapse in a dusty heap on the parched earth, my tears soaking into the ground as soon as they roll off my face.
Tomorrow arrives, then tomorrow, and another tomorrow. I am numb with despair.
Every morning I stay in bed until I am forced to get up by Mama’s call. I don’t look at the sky. I know what it holds, or rather, what it doesn’t hold.
Every night, I crawl into bed. I don’t pray. Instead I let the tears roll silently down into my ears until I fall into a restless sleep.
I dream of an angry God, holding back rain as a punishment on poor farmers.
I dream of the sky taunting us with the hope of thunder and lightning, but holding back the promise of rain.
And then worst of all, I dream of rain. Sweet, cool refreshing rain that soaks into the ground and brings life and hope once again.
But then I wake up and realize it was just a dream and that I am living in a nightmare.
Hope died with the dust that fell from Papa’s hand that morning.
The rain will never come.
I lie in bed, after living through a day that was the same as yesterday. I wonder briefly if tomorrow might break the pattern of dusty monotony, then decide that no, it will not. Tomorrow will be the same as today – hopeless and rainless.
I can hear the low murmur of Papa and Mama talking in the other room. They thought I hadn’t heard them talking earlier, but I had. They were murmuring about giving up the farm, of going to the East to live with Mama’s sister. Whispers that signalled the final end of everything we’d ever hoped, dreamed and lived for.
Tears come much easier now than they used to, and so I lie there, stifling in the darkness, stifling my sobs. Sleep eventually comes, long after their murmurs have stopped and the harvest moon has risen. I am restless, drifting in and out of nightmares that are too close to reality.
Then a noise cuts through my shadowy dreams, jerking me awake. I lie there, panting softly in the heat, straining my eyes in the darkness.
The noise comes again, a strange intermittent tapping that seems to be coming from the roof above me. The tapping grows in intensity and loudness, as if someone is throwing stones randomly from the sky. I cast about in my sleep-fogged brain, trying to identify the noise. It seems vaguely familiar, as if I had dreamt about it long ago.
Then the truth hits me with the force of a train. I leap out of bed, tripping over my discarded clothes in the darkness, crashing into the door. I tear it open, heedless of my elbows or the clothes or the hinges.
“Papa, Mama!” I scream.
Dashing through the kitchen, I pull open the front door.
It is as if heaven stands before me.
The smell of life comes flooding into the house, dispelling the smell of the dust that has filled our nostrils for so long. I look out through tear filled eyes at the rain that thuds onto the ground.
Somehow I find myself in the front yard, screaming for joy. My face is turned up to the sky that drops its long awaited gift upon the earth. I run and jump and skip, my heart singing for joy.
I turn and see Papa dancing with Mama in the puddles of water that have quickly accumulated on the ground. I can’t tell if they’re crying or laughing – I don’t know myself whether I’m crying or laughing. Rain pelts my head and runs heavy down my face, washing away the dust of despair.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” I cry over and over again, laughter bubbling up between sobs.
I run to Papa and Mama. I can see the joy dripping from their drenched clothes, feel it radiating from their gleaming smiles. Papa’s eyes flash with light, Mama stands straight and strong.
We join hands and dance together, as the rain pours from the sky.