...and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's
when the world is puddle-wonderful...

-e.e. cummings (from "in Just-")


Brooke and I were real little. We were wearing our corduroy pants with the flowers on them. They were kind of a beige color with pink and maybe purple and maybe blue flowers. We were probably wearing our Keds, but who really knows for sure. Memories can get so vague over time.

What I do know for sure is we were messy. We jumped with nothing short of wild abandon in every puddle in our back yard, and it was a big back yard on a rainy, rainy day. In the gravel driveway alone, there were dozens of puddles, which were clear until we jumped in them and stirred up the mud. I don't even think we were trying to splash each other, we just got carried away with the jumping. We wanted to make big splashes, and I thought I was jumping so high as I watched my feet meet water and then SPLASH! Water everywhere.

Then Dad was on the back steps and ooh was he mad! We were in trouble. He wouldn't let us in the house with our wet clothes on, so we took them off in the mudroom and ran for the bath. If it had been warmer, he probably would have turned the hose on us in the back yard before letting us in. We were that messy.


It was after I moved to Portland, after Jeremy moved away, and I was walking home on a rainy day. I can't remember where I had been; I think I just went for a walk. I didn't have a lot of friends here, then. My jeans were wet and I was wearing my black boots. I don't remember how it started, but the idea of splashing made me happy, or maybe it was the sound. I began jumping in puddles as I passed them, laughing at myself as the cars zoomed by. I was only peripherally aware of them, and the fact that I must have looked crazy.

It started raining again, so by the time I got home, my jeans were wet up to my knees, and my hair hung in straggly clumps, sticking to my face. I felt clean and happy and the warm shower that I took after muttering an explanation to my roommate was pure heaven. But before that, it was all about the jumping. Jumping and landing in puddles and watching the round crystaline blobs of water break away, and then lose their shapes again when they hit the ground.


Last Friday. I told Dad about this and he said, "You're how old? Twenty-seven? And I thought I was the one who didn't want to grow up."

"Duane started it," I told him, which didn't really serve to refute his statement. "He jumped in a puddle and splashed us."

Then it was Chris muttering "You're so dead," as he jumped in the same puddle and splashed Duane and me. The war was on. We ran the remaining six blocks to the car, seeking out good puddles, kicking up water with our feet, or just jumping in them. Gutters and driveways hold the most water.

As we were splashing each other and playing, I looked in the windows of a restaurant briefly. One table of people was all staring at us. They were pointing and had half-amused, half-disapproving expressions on their faces. The table next to them was enveloped in their own conversation, oblivious to the outside world the way people in restaurants sometimes are when it's warm and dry and softly lit inside and outside it's rainy and dark. They didn't see us at all, at least not while I was looking, but my glance was brief, as I had to find a new puddle for splashing.

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