We woke up to a heavy thunderstorm rattling our windows. My five year old brother came running into my room asking if he could sleep with me so I wouldn’t be afraid. At 6 years old, he knew that I wasn’t afraid of anything, and that we both knew he was really the one who was scared. I pulled back the covers and he jumped in.
In the morning, the storm was still raging so we were stuck playing inside. We were soon engaged in a game of cars. Running the Tonka® trucks up and down the hardwood floors, he began to bore quickly. He decided to take the trucks for a little ride up around the window sill.
We both loved looking outside the windows when it rained. All of the old people would yell at us to get away from the window, they’d say that we would attract lightning, get hit by it and die. But we liked to watch the hard rain pounding the muddy earth outside. We liked the little dribbles on the windowpane.
I walked over next to him to look at the storm. With our faces pressed against the cool piece of glass, we spent a rare moment together in solitude watching the pouring rain.
The solitude lasted for only a heartbeat. My brother let out a blood curdling sound like I’d never heard before. He looked at me, his eyes larger than a hoot owl’s, and he immediately fell to the floor.
My parents shot up the staircase like two Olympic sprinters, almost fighting to get into the bedroom door. Dumbfounded when they saw my brother’s little body lying next to his truck, they looked at me questioningly.
“He was at the window, he screamed. I don’t know what happened!” pointing at the window, my dad was prompted to pull back the curtains.
There, in the corner of the old wooden window sill was a big menacing wasp. His stinger was gone.
Mom ran down the stairs carrying my brother. Picking up the phone to dial the police she told them that my brother didn’t appear to be breathing. They told her to stand outside and wait for them.
My Dad took my brother out of her arms, and she ran out into the pouring rain. She didn’t even put her jacket on. She didn’t take an umbrella. She just ran out to the front of the house and began waving her arms.
I looked at my Dad. He started to sing to my brother. My brother seemed like he was asleep to me. He wasn’t moving. His face was turning a pale blue.
My Dad handed me a flashlight. “Take this to your mama! Hurry!”
I ran outside. When I got to where my mother was, I could see she was crying. I began to cry, too.
“Daddy sent you this flashlight,” I handed it to her. She turned it on waving it like a small lighthouse.
“Mama, aren’t you afraid of the rain?” I asked as I huddled against her. At that moment, my six year old bravery was nowhere to be found.
She looked down at me smiling, “No darlin’, I love the rain. It’s a sign of good things to come. It reminds me of home.” My mother had told us stories about Ireland and how all of the rain kept it so green.
“Mama, will my brother go to heaven and be an angel now?”
It was as though her heart had stopped when the words came out of my mouth. I saw her swallow hard, then she answered me: “That’s up to God, Sissy, that’s up to God.”
The police finally came rushing towards us with their sirens ablaze and spinning lights flashing. An ambulance came roaring in right behind them. They ran into our house taking my brother out of Daddy’s arms.
They gave my brother shots and put needles in his arm. Then they took him away, letting my mother go with him in the big white ambulance.
When my Daddy and I got to the place they took my brother, it was a long time until my mama came out to where we were sitting. She was smiling and she told us my brother wasn’t going to heaven to become an angel after all.
“See Sissy,” she told me, “Rain is always a sign of good things to come. I love the rain.”