35 comments

Fiction

Mama always said that you could tell what type of person someone was by looking at their positive or negative outlook to rain. 

She said the people not worth my time were the ones who dashed from point A to point B with their collars upturned and their hats pulled low. The ones who scowled at the gray sky as if it personally offended them were the ones who most likely didn’t appreciate the little things in life. 

But she said those to look out for were the ones who danced in the rain. Those who lived and loved with their entire being and not just that pounding organ in their chests. The ones who took the day off from work and danced with their daughter under the emptying skies, hair plastered to their scalps, broad grins, and so much love it hurts.

I guess that’s why she didn’t object when I found a boy nestled in the bush and brought him home. I saw him dancing in the rain, his silver poncho on the ground and his eyes heavenward - searching for the stars through that grey blanket hanging low over the world. 

He didn’t look as if he hated the rain, but he didn’t look as if he liked it either. I wondered what Mama would say to that anomaly. I walked over to him, and we stared up at the sky together, eyes slit against the onslaught of droplets. 

“Whatcha looking for?” I asked, and he took his sweet time responding. I didn't care, though. It wasn't a loaded silence, it was a comfortable silence. The ones Mama and I shared together when we danced in the rain.  

“My father. I want to see if he’s doing okay in heaven,” he said. I looked at him. I could tell he was hurting. We stood there in silence for some more time until I tried the only thing I knew to do when I wanted to make someone feel better.

“Doyah want pie?” 

I brought him home with the promise of a slice of cherry pie because Mama made the best in the entire town. She put whipped cream on top, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and those sweet cherries on top of that. And if I asked nicely, I could get a warm glass of milk on the side, too. 

The boy looked a little wary of me, but his stomach growled so loud I could hear it over the pounding on the swollen gutters. He and I looked at each other and smiled. 

“Can I have milk too?” he asked me, and I held out my hand. 

“I guess we’ll find out,” I replied, leading him home. 

Mama was happy. I could tell by the smells wafting out of the open window as I led the boy up the front steps. Cinnamon and sugar. Snickerdoodles. She had some good news. But I knew we also had cherry pie in the oven. 

“Mama?” I asked as I pushed open the door. I had to speak up over the thrumming rain on the roof. The boy and I pulled off our ponchos and rain boots, leaving them in a pile next to the front door. 

“In here, darling,” she called. 

“Come on,” I told the boy as he hesitated near the door. He stepped toward me. 

“Is the pie in there?” he asked. I nodded. 

“You'll have to meet my mom first,” I said, pulling him through the foyer and into the small kitchen. Mama had decorated it with my pictures throughout the entirety of my ten years: my first missing tooth, my first day of preschool, dancing in the rain, my first day of elementary school, my first carousel, my first baked cookie. She was hunched over the counter, furiously kneading a ball of dough swirled with cinnamon streaks. 

“Hello dear, the cookies will be ready-ah, who’s this?” she asked, turning around and spotting the two of us. I shyly pushed the boy forward. 

“He was dancing in the rain, Mama. I thought he could use some cherry pie,” I said. Mama’s eyes lit up, and she turned to the boy, dusting her hands on the apron she wore. 

“Well, then. Raindancer. What’s your name?” she asked gently. He bit his lip. 

“Mark,” he whispered. 

“Mark is a very strong name. You deserve some pie. With two scoops of ice cream, and an extra cherry,” she pronounced. Mark puffed his chest out, his damp hair curling at the nape of his neck. I gasped. 

Mama, can I have that too?” I said, shocked. She winked at me. 

“Of course you can, darling. Now Mark-” she started, but he hopped on the kitchen stool she motioned him toward and propped his head on his hands, interrupting her. 

“May I have some milk too?” he asked softly. Mama blinked and a wide smile danced on the corner of her lips.

“Yes...yes of course,” she said, pulling the bottle out of the fridge. I hopped on the chair next to Mark as Mama bustled around, getting things ready. “Where do you live Mark?” she asked, setting a tall glass of milk next to both of us. He took a big gulp, his milk mustache smeared across his upper lip, before responding. 

“The house at the end of the road, near the old oak tree,” he said. Mama nodded. 

“I’d heard someone had moved in. Well, how are you liking the neighborhood?” She queried, scooping the ice cream into perfect balls and putting them on the big slices of pie. Mark’s eyes grew round at the sight, and he licked his lips before turning his eyes back to Mama. 

“Well, I haven’t really made any friends yet,” he admitted. The rain fell harder after his sentence, drowning out all other noise, and when it lessened, Mama turned to me with a speculative glance. 

“Well, I’m sure Charlie here would love to be your first friend,” she said. I rolled my eyes. I didn’t need her to make friends for me. 

“Yeah, we’re friends,” I said to him, purposely not noticing the way his eyes lined with silver. 

Mama slid the two plates over to us and handed us two spoons. We dug in, comfortable silence falling over us as we ate, Mama baked, and the rain fell around us. 

And I remembered something Mama said. About the things that people do in the rain. The ones who glare at every single rain cloud are the ones who wash away, far out of your life, and those who dance among the raindrops are the ones who stay in your life, like the fresh smell after the rain stops - forever in your mind and forever in your heart.

June 01, 2021 16:11

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35 comments

Valerie June
20:13 Jun 01, 2021

Loved this simple yet heartwarming story. Rain and baked goods; a perfect combination.

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Nainika Gupta
00:21 Jun 02, 2021

Thanks so much!

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B.T Beauregard
05:02 Jun 12, 2021

Super cute story, nice work! Love the characters and the calm pace. Makes me wanna have pie. :)

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Nainika Gupta
17:29 Jun 12, 2021

:) thanks!

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Amany Sayed
18:08 Jun 01, 2021

This is such a cute addition to the prompt! Maybe I should appreciate rain more.

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Nainika Gupta
00:22 Jun 02, 2021

:) Thanks!

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Deidra Lovegren
17:44 Jun 01, 2021

You had me at snickerdoodles. Warm and lovely as a Christmas card.

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Nainika Gupta
00:22 Jun 02, 2021

I had myself at snickerdoodles :) Thanks!

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Ana Govindasamy
17:40 Jun 01, 2021

Aww this was so sweet and really well written. And I want cherry pie now.

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Nainika Gupta
00:22 Jun 02, 2021

Appreciate it :) Thanks! Ha, I was eating the exact thing as I was writing it.

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Ana Govindasamy
05:40 Jun 02, 2021

No problem!

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Lyvia Fei
18:44 Oct 09, 2021

Awww, this story was so simple but so sweet. I love the way you write, Nainika! It's so beautiful 😍 -Liv

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Nainika Gupta
00:35 Oct 11, 2021

Thank you so much!

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Lyvia Fei
06:03 Oct 11, 2021

:D

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Meggysa Nine
15:55 Sep 05, 2021

Literally a story as sweet as a cherry pie with double scoop vanilla ice cream! <3 <3

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Nainika Gupta
23:05 Sep 08, 2021

Thanks!

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Katie Kanning
00:27 Aug 25, 2021

Hey Nainika, I love your story! I'm wondering if I could read it on my podcast, "Unpublished, not Unknown"? It's all about giving voice to indie authors' short stories and spreading their reach a bit further. I'll credit you and link your profile in the show notes. People can listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Youtube, and 5 other locations. It's in its growing stage, so I'd only ask you to share your episode with friends if you like it :) You can check out the format here: https://bio.link/katiek

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Nainika Gupta
14:32 Feb 01, 2022

Hey Katie! Thanks so much I know this is super late, but if this is still going for you, I'd love that!

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Katie Kanning
00:52 Feb 02, 2022

Hi Nainika, It's the perfect time! To submit it officially, click "submit your short story" at our website: unpublishednotunknown.com Glad to hear from you! -Katie

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Rohit Mukundan
18:05 Jun 19, 2021

This felt like a story in a picture book. I can almost see the illustrations. I just read a thriller about a serial killer in reedsy, so this was a warm welcome change of pace.

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Nainika Gupta
21:49 Jul 30, 2021

Thanks! Really appreciate that :)

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Liz Redt
23:59 Jun 09, 2021

Well written.

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Nainika Gupta
12:33 Jun 10, 2021

Thanks!

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Kate Ashton
20:06 Jun 09, 2021

I loved the use of character voice! Every character was distinct, and the entire piece felt warm and cozy.

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Nainika Gupta
12:33 Jun 10, 2021

;) Thanks!

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Sun Flower
13:44 Jun 09, 2021

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! I love your writing style!

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Nainika Gupta
16:24 Jun 09, 2021

Thanks!

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Ditika Sharma
10:13 Jun 09, 2021

The kind of story you'd want to read with a hot cuppa chai on a rainy day. Super sweet and warm ❤️ Also doesn't hurt that it's raining outside and I am, in fact, nursing a cuppa right now, does it? 😁

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Nainika Gupta
12:18 Jun 09, 2021

:) Thanks so much! ha, nope

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Spescozia Juma
06:30 Jun 03, 2021

A beautiful story

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Nainika Gupta
13:35 Jun 03, 2021

Thanks!

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Cole Lane
04:48 Jun 03, 2021

Beautiful! Seriously, this was a wonderful read. I was hoping it would last a little longer. :) This makes the soul happy. I wanted to sit in that kitchen and smell the cinnamon and feel the warmth. I'm going to have to make some snickerdoodles now!

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Nainika Gupta
13:36 Jun 03, 2021

Thanks so much Cole! Yeah, this was a simple story, but I feel like the simple ones are the ones that last longer...you know? Or maybe that's just me :) Ahah! Yes, go do that.

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Josephine Samuel
07:06 Jun 02, 2021

Wow, brilliant story Nainika. The first paragraph is 🔥🔥 such nice sequence.

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Nainika Gupta
12:30 Jun 02, 2021

Thanks so much!

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