The Maynard
Spring 2014

Jane Mellor

The Day the Rain Stopped

Saturday’s pavement was hot enough to fry an egg on, so we did for the fun of it, and the few pebbles that stuck to the yolky white weren’t that bad, like uncooked split peas or unground peppercorns, not spicy just hard as a pellet from Jim’s BB gun when he’d hunt apples or, if he really wanted to sharpen his aim, acorns, (not yet old enough for squirrels).

Jim lived in the farmhouse across the hayfield, a few birch between his front porch and my bedroom window. His ma kept a watchful eye out for crows in the corn, mine kept a watchful eye out for Jim, not slim Jim but broad shouldered, big grinned, handsomest fella in the county, Jim.

Aside from his daily target practice, which was like clockwork from three till four, Jim liked to try his hand at kissing, and it wasn’t me he practiced on, maybe because Ma kept him at bay, or maybe because I was younger than he was and that made me innocent in his eyes.

Boys Jim’s age wanted to find girls innocent enough to try new tricks on, but not so innocent they wouldn’t know about the tricks they were trying, is what Marybeth explained one afternoon when I pretended to pee and overheard the older girls gossip in the washroom.

But I liked to think it was because I was pretty. Ma said I was pretty. Pa didn’t say much in the way of compliments, wasn’t around even if he could, so I took Ma’s word for it and thought that’s why Jim kissed me that afternoon the day school let out and the lazy summer began, kissed me between cornrows, and the sun shone for forty five days straight.