Rain, a four-year-old girl, races down a suburban sidewalk. It’s afternoon, sunny and peaceful. The busy school day reflected in her scuffed leggings, stained white t-shirt and wild brunette hair. Only one pigtail survived, still wrapped in a rainbow ribbon. The other unraveled long ago, considering the messy bird nest on that side. Rain’s smiling mother, Terra, kneeled, greeting the little one with open arms and joyful squeeze. For no reason, Rain laughs, a funny infection Terra catches, unaware of what they were laughing about. Where did this amazing girl come from? She wondered.
“How was school?” Terra asked. They head home hand in hand.
“Fun!” Rain jumps up and down, almost ripping the fabric of Terra’s sweatshirt with a Herculean tug. “Spin me! Spin me, mama!”
“Oh…” It was always the same, a daily ritual. Everyday Terra would spin Rain around, fling her in the air and catch her. It’s how she could touch the clouds like her father, Rain believed.
“Spin ME! Haha!”
“Ooh KAY! Are you ready?”
The world dances around them in an infinite loop. Terra lifts her high. Rain shadows the sun, falling back into her mother’s raised arms only to spin again, fly, and land. They crumple onto their grassy front lawn, lost in a dizzy stupor.
“I love you!” Rain said.
“I love you too. Wanna go again?”
“Yeah!” Terra spins and launches high. Rain’s laugh fades the higher she ascends, replaced with rolling thunder. In the sky, a large hand slices through a cloud and scoops Rain up. Inside the hand, she’s protected by tall fingers, a mighty barrier to prevent her from falling. It closes into a fist, vanishing behind the clouds.
“NO!” Terra shouted at the sky. “It’s not your day!”
Thunder rattles the earth. Terra ducks, shielding her head. It sounds like someone slammed bowling balls against a wall above. Frightened, she peeks through splayed fingers as the hand returns Rain. She’s cross legged in the center of the open palm, laughing, thrilled to take the ride. She walks across fingers and slid down the tip of his index. Terra grabs her.
“My mistake.” A powerful male voice said. His finger caresses Terra’s shoulder, he moves to her lower back, longer than normal. Terra frowns. He stops and fled into the sky.
“Not so fast, Zeus! It’s the fifteenth of the tenth month, remember? You’re late.”
“That time already? Sorry babe. Hold on,” he said.
Terra watches the sky as Rain ran circles around her, humming a happy siren song.
“Check your account now. That should be sufficient for the year.”
Terra grinned at the alert on her phone: Deposit of $1,000,000.00 credited 10/15/2021 for account XOXO. The memo read: Child Support. Love You Rain & Terra, Z.
“See you next week, darling.” Zeus said to Rain, his hand fades into the sky.