Was It Her?

Was It Her?

A Story by HeroicDemon
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A memoir of me as a boy riding my Huffy bicycle through a grade school after closing on a rainy afternoon and being surprised when I see a mysterious girl walking home by herself.

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Was It Her?

“Nobody wants to feel the pain in things anymore.”
 • Jody Foster “Foxes”

Author Note
I like to think of my remembered occurrence taking place in the autumn, perhaps in October or November, but it definitely wasn’t summertime because this unusual occurrence happened on a usual school night. Well, since autumn is my favorite time of year, I’ll go ahead and assume it was. If I were to compare this memoir to any piece of well-known literature, it would be Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Little Match Girl”. It may not be as tragic, but the aura is the same. Also, this memoir is not based on a fictional character. The enigmatic girl I wrote of in this recollection definitely existed.

  The day was sunny and mild at first, but thick clouds gathered by mid-afternoon, and they brought me out of a drowsy school daze while sitting at a desk in my third-grade classroom at Lakeshore Elementary. The clouds eventually formed a promising overcast and rain looked definite within a few hours. I loved the rain and still do, you could even say I’m a pluviophile (which means “rain-lover”), and watching those gray clouds expand through a large window in a matter of hours awakened my spirit. I thought about joining my adventurous friend Ronnie (whose desk was right beside my own) in a festival of puddle splashing near a little playground close to the apartment he lived in with his single mother, complete with slides and swings. It would be an excellent time for this cherished boyhood activity, especially since he and I would probably have the wet little sand pit all to ourselves.

  Sizeable raindrops were already spattering onto the abandoned lunch tables outside before class ended, making heads turn, and I got the feeling I wasn’t the only fourth grader who anticipated a wet adventure after the bell rang. Ronnie was all smiles observing this evolution, so obviously his thoughts coincided with my own. Him accepting my "wet and wild" party invitation had lifted both our spirits, especially after my weather prediction came to be.

  After school ended and before our families had put dinner on the table, we conjured up an appetite by executing our puddle plan. Donning rain boots and hooded jackets, we got ourselves drenched at the playground. Of course, we didn’t plan for all the grainy sand that accumulated on us, so when Ronnie’s visiting grandmother saw us walk through the back door to dry off, her eyes almost fell out of their sockets in protest of observing our mucky invasion. But she must have remembered that she was once a kid because her frown changed into a grin seconds later. She handed both of us thick towels and began describing how much fun she had in puddles as a youth. We attempted to dry ourselves with the towels and got no further than the surface of our clothes, still soaked inside of them. We removed our heavy black boots and while observing these rubber giants, the kind woman told us they used to call our protective footwear “goulashes” and how she used to enjoy playing in them on stormy afternoons as we did, grinning as she recollected her memories. Apparently, I was correct in assuming that reflecting on her childhood is what altered her mood. At this point, guilt climbed over me for nearly delivering this sweet middle-aged lady an unexpected heart attack after my filthy boots and jeans entry.

  About an hour later, after Ronnie’s mother came home and got busy in the kitchen, I left and had my dinner at home. My father was also a single parent, but not much into cooking, so I was presented a thawed-out Swanson’s meal. It honestly didn’t matter to me because the second half of my wet adventure was about to begin, and food was not on my mind. I barely tasted anything out of the aluminum tray and ate fast, periodically glancing at the living room window to confirm exciting rain was still descending from the over casted sky. It was.

  After I finished my quick meal, I heard wind pounding rain onto the front door and my excitement reached a new level. I immediately slipped on my yellow raincoat, hopped on my dependable Huffy bicycle parked in the back yard, and off I went through the wooden gate, headed back towards my elementary school which was no more than a quarter mile trip. I loved riding my bike around the premises when it rained. There were so many open hallways to cruise down and so many puddles to run tires over, it was total boy joy. Not to mention, almost everyone had left, and I practically had the whole school to myself.

  When I arrived, I immediately glided my Huffy through the maze of one-story buildings and could feel the chilly breeze on my face as I did, turning my cheeks red. I only stopped when I noticed lights that were kept on inside a few classrooms and offices, thinking maybe someone was still present. But on every occasion, no teachers, students, or custodians were to be seen, at least not inside of the windows I observed. Perfection! The most important section to check out was obviously the principal’s office, so I peddled over and again, no one was visible behind the windows. Only abandoned electric typewriters and dim table lamps stood guard inside. Relief. I impulsively delayed continuing my adventure for a minute to stare at the offices’ front window because there was something about rain drops streaking down glass and lamp light gleaming off each one that pulled me into a type of meditation. Such an observance was a calming escape for me, more than reading any comic book was.

  Only the anticipation of furthering my aquatic journey brought me out of this entranced state and I decided to navigate my Huffy over to the abandoned playground which was located close to a lagoon. A chain-link fence stood between them, water racing down the steel, inviting rust to grow in sections later on. Observing rain drops spatter on top of opaque lagoon water through the link holes, making tiny ripples everywhere they landed, almost brought me into another meditation episode. But my craving for bicycle adventure took precedent this time and I decided to focus on guiding my wheels into several deep, murky puddles that spit up water like a fountain off the back tire during each encounter, staining the tail end of my bright yellow rain jacket. Zero fenders on my little mobilizer, but I didn’t care. This was a good time!

  Once exhaustion caught up with me, I parked my Huffy in the lunch area, kickstand down, and rested on a wood bench resting against one of the classroom buildings. I remember hearing rain fall into gutters, making an echo sound inside the hollow tin passages when landing at the bottom, progressively draining onto slick concrete, free once again. It was a cold sound and I felt goosebumps form on my arms as a result, uncomfortable yet soothing. The aroma of fresh rainfall entered my nostrils, awarding me with additional joy. There is something about fresh rain on concrete that never fails to birth a welcoming scent, much like the effect of December evergreens, only in a different setting. The aura of my surroundings refreshed me during this needed lung revival. Intense rainfall looked so overpowering around my isolated bicycle that I began to wonder if it wouldn’t decide to throw in the towel at some point and become one with all the mighty cats and dogs who made this late afternoon their own.

  Feeling more rested, I looked up at the sky and could see dusk was rapidly approaching. Darkness started to gather below the overcast clouds while outdoor lights began to automatically switch on around the classroom buildings. It wasn’t night yet, but so close. I welcomed it. Perhaps because I knew the earth was on the cusp of transforming into a more intriguing place. Dark and rain mixed nicely together, especially when the traditionally haunted month of October arrived, my favorite time. It was a mystical gathering of elements and I have always been attracted to the unknown. The multiple colors of damp foliage always preserved autumn’s mystery, leaving my thoughts to drift upon every annual encounter. As I approached my Huffy to ride around the premises more, a girl caught my eye and stopped me from proceeding. Not that she intended to, she was about 20 yards distant, walking towards an exit in the chain-link fence which surrounded the whole school. She walked beside the playground I had previously visited, moving her legs casually and appearing to savor the environment as if strolling through a lovely park on a mild afternoon. She must have admired the rain as much as I did because it certainly wasn’t mild. Nonetheless, an aura of sadness caressed her being. She was so alone out there. We were probably the only souls around, just her and I.

  From my point of view, the girl had solid black hair reaching just past her shoulders, very straight hair. She wore a purple jacket with her hands tucked well into the pockets, and snug blue jeans. There was no umbrella present, no head protection at all. The heavy rain made it impossible to distinguish much else. Who was she? Why was she alone?

  Suddenly, I thought perhaps the mysterious girl was a student named Samantha, a rather timid Asian girl in my class. She often wore ragged jeans and an old red sweater. Classmates would sometimes tease her and, of course, I never found their negative attitude towards Samantha agreeable, nor did I exactly understand why they teased her. Perhaps she was abused in some way by a member of her family or had a mental illness that made her appear awkward to others. But she came across as a polite and timid soul. When she smiled, it was inviting, even though I got the impression it was forced - as if she was attempting to overcome a hidden tragedy by focusing on more uplifting experiences. Otherwise, I didn’t know much about her.

  Was it Samantha? The downpour made it impossible to know for certain, it engulfed her in mystery, almost like it intended to whisk her away, claim her. All I could see through the torrent was her onyx hair, not her face. The girl’s backside was the only part visible to me. Her jacket appeared to be made of ordinary fabric, not weather ready, and I could tell it had already collected plenty of rain in the fibers. Her cold appearance was enough to revive goosebumps on my skin and I shivered, almost feeling like I was the one out there walking home alone.

  After some thought, I finally decided to overcome my fear of embarrassment and holler out to the soaked mystery girl in the distance: “Samantha!”, I said. She turned around and, in a panic, I immediately ducked behind the wall so she wouldn’t know who the voice originated from. I was quite shy as a boy and never liked having a spotlight on me in any way. Unfortunately, I was still unable to identify the face of this ghostly girl. Oncoming darkness and insistently heavy rain won the battle over my point of view. She turned back towards her former direction and continued walking away from me, approaching the exit, gradually vanishing into the downpour before reaching the open gate. Evening blackness had completed its arrival in the wet atmosphere and “Samantha” was no longer visible to me.

  I gradually walked back to my Huffy and decided to ride home because it was nighttime, and I didn't want my father to scold me for riding around after dark. I rode my Huffy back through the entrance, thinking perhaps the night-haired girl was some type of October ghost who belonged to the enigmatic rain and darkness. I felt a combination of puzzlement and sorrow for her. I prayed the girl would ultimately find contentment in this wickedly volatile existence we are all born into. As I rode past an abandoned basketball court in the heavy downpour, I observed rain drops falling around streetlights, making aquatic halos around their soft glow. I stopped to look up at one that caught my attention over the others. Immediately, I was back to a meditative state, like I had at the principal’s office, only my "trance" seemed to bring a new meaning with it. A compassionate radiance appeared to emit from inside the luminous circle, reaching outward, beyond the circle. Somehow, this particular halo was assuring. Even though my cheeks and knuckles turned pink in the nippy evening, I began to feel an unexpected comfort embrace me like a warm angelic hug. I also felt I wasn’t the only one experiencing this mysterious embrace at that moment. Perhaps it was a communion, a sign that everything would be alright. As if the sign was on a mission to heal deep wounds and calm exhausted hearts at the same time. Out there existed a lonely girl whose loneliness would soon vanish along with my doubts. The message reached me from an unknown origin, but it was completely understood. Even though I questioned my own perception of this message, I felt confident it was legitimate and meaningful. Was it her? Was it Samantha? I'll never know, but it didn't matter because whoever she was, my instincts told me she no longer walked alone or unloved and that is what comforted my soul.

  I peddled home in the rain, leaving my heart with “Samantha”. The assuring halo of rain, illuminated by the comfortably haunting streetlight glow, continued emitting its guiding radiance in the chilly autumn evening. 

THE END

© 2022 HeroicDemon


Author's Note

HeroicDemon
I wrote this memoir about 10 years ago and have edited it often since. If there are any grammatical suggestions, please let me know. - AGP

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Added on October 18, 2022
Last Updated on October 19, 2022
Tags: mystery, rain, school, boy, girl, alone, cold, wet, bicycle, puddles, ghost, sadness, autumn

Author

HeroicDemon
HeroicDemon

Reno, NV



About
I enjoy discussing the world of the unexplained and writing about it. I also write about dreams, visions, and the memorable past. Just an amateur who writes as a hobby at this time. more..