Grade: 11th grade
Age: 16

Fear of the Rain

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Amanda Alvillar hated rain. She hated the way the droplets felt as they quickly accumulate and cohere on her skin like a growing, deadly disease. She hated the sound of the clear-blue liquid colliding on the pavements and windowsills as its journey from the grey, gloomy sky above comes to an end to temporarily stain the earth. Mandy’s shaking hands rummaged through her bag of papers and pens and hair ties for the missing umbrella she needed in the wet condition. It had to be in here somewhere because she could never forget it. She checked over it all again. And again. And again. And again until she had fully memorized where everything in her bag was except for the one thing Ananda truly needed. It was simply useless to look once more.
She tried to recall where her umbrella could have possibly gone missing when it was always packed safely in her satchel. It then suddenly dawned on her. Just last night, Mandy had taken everything out, including the umbrella, to reorganize her bag, and she had most likely forgotten to put it back in the bag. Muttering curses under her breath at her terribly timed misfortune, the girl berated herself for letting the precious item slip from her mind. Now she would have to suffer the consequences unless she found a way out of the easily avoidable situation.
“Mandy!” Gemma shouted from across the school parking lot in her drenched Sonata, “I’ll leave first, okay? I will meet you at the mall!”
The girl gave a signal of approval, mustering a forced smile and a shaky nod. Amanda did not want her new friends to find about the pluviophobia that followed her so persistently into her first year of college, so she just watched helplessly as the car drove away. What could she do now? Phoning her parents would make them more worried and protective, and to be truly honest, Mandy did not want to accept the fact that she needed someone else to help her. She wanted to prove that she could handle it now.
“It is not any different from the water from the showerhead at home,” the girl attempted to somehow summon an ounce of bravery through her body as she looked at the darkened wet pavement, “There’s really no reason to be afraid of falling water. It’s just two hydrogens and an oxygen, little tiny atoms, there is no real harm in getting a little drenched.”
But then again, Amanda could not stand to be in cool running water for any more than a minute. And deep down, she knew that something more than a sprinkle could possibly leave her completely paralyzed in irrational fear. But did fear have to stand in the way of having fun with her newly gained friends? It was the first time in so long that Mandy was not piled under her schoolwork or whisked away for another dreadful family event full of extended relatives she could not for the life of her pair together the names and faces of. Was it not her goal to become less of a wallflower and find somewhere to finally fit in? If Amanda Alvillar wants to get friends who did not look at her funny, look at her in pity, look at her like a child, she had to get over this stupid, silly fear. In her desperation, Amanda attempted to quite literally test the waters from under the protected canopy. Reaching out slowly, the same three words repeated in her head like a taunt: it’s just water, it’s just water, it’s just water. But it was water indeed, her worst enemy. Mandy’s arm recoiled almost instantly by the contact of droplets on her arm while chills ran down her spine.
The rain felt exactly as it had so long ago. It was still the same rain from way back then which dug its way down into the deepest, darkest parts of her mind, her heart, her soul. Rain, the sinister and frigid individual that lied straight to her naive face filled with hope, promising a seemingly too-good-to-be-true happiness. It was the same rain in the summer of ‘04 that her elder brother had called her out to dance around in. It was a beautiful evening and the warm rain to little Amanda was like a tinkling lullaby; rain was an enchanted musician waiting for a pretty little dancer to come and accompany his music. It was the same rain that her parents looked at her and Aron disapprovingly and told them they would get sick “en la lluvia”. Of course, her brother disregarded the warning (as he was the naughty one of the pair) and continued to play in blissful ignorance.
It was the same rain that a poor, nearsighted man by the name of Elliot Becker drove in with his white Corolla. Mr. Becker had forgotten his glasses at home, and even when he tried to be so careful as he drove, he did not happen to see the small, four-foot six-inch boy playing in the neighborhood road. It was the same rain that flooded Mandy’s senses and washed away her innocence in a mere two minutes. In a blink of an eye, the calm sunshine rain darkened, and the roar of thunder out-screamed her parents and the blinding lightning filled young Amanda’s eyes with fear. But most of all, it was the same rain that poured down harder and harder and harder like punches all over the girl’s body forcing her to her knees as she watched her mother and father run out to the stone-still body in the middle of the asphalt of the neighborhood street. It was the same rain later on that showed up at Aron’s funeral, bringing with it the wails and cries of the wind. It was then that young Amanda had realized the true nature of the rain. It was the same rain as before, and Amanda Alvillar did not like the rain.

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