We met in the third grade. It happened this way. I was late getting out of school, it was raining and the lady who picked me up at the front gate was nowhere around.
I knew my way home though it was a long walk, I am guessing in hindsight around two miles. An insurmountable undertaking for such a small girl. For a while I waited for my ride at the brick wall in front of the school trying to sort my options; decide the best course to take in the event no one came for me. Giving up hope and with no alternatives, I set out walking.
Before long my sobs were audible and I didn’t hold back seeing no one around to come to my aide, a salty deluge of tears and rain swamped my eye glasses as I blindly stumbled along the lonely journey. Oh, it was a sad day and I let fly a host of taboo oaths berating the fate that had befallen me. My shoes filled with water sloshing loudly with every step and soon they took on a life of their own hungrily gnawing at the backs of my socks until they were devoured and blisters began to form on the pink flesh above my heels prompting loud cries of suffering that only the damned must endure.
Out of nothingness a voice called out to wait. Through my swollen eyes I could make out a distant figure barely visible through dense sheets of rain and I called out to it with blubbering lips that I would and I stopped in the downpour staring back at the vacuum from which I had recently emerged. When the spectre took form I could make out big fists of brown eyes dripping large opals of water from long lashes clinging in spidery leg fashion above an open mouth smile that allowed rain drops to spill directly onto large pearls of teeth. “Why are you crying?”. I realized immediately that she was not aware of the severity of the situation. “My ride didn’t come and I have to walk home in the rain”. She took my hand and walked with me. Surely she was insane. I asked how she would get home from there. Smiling, she proudly advised me that she knew her way everywhere and that she always walked wherever she needed to go.
Later my father drove her home which turned out to be another two miles in the oposite direction of the school. My water sprite turned my catastrophe into an adventure. Since then, we make ourselves available if one should find themselves caught in the rain.
Dedicated to Barbara