The second of my children’s stories is a tale about a little boy named Jeff a raincloud named Maelstrom. They both learn to overcome fear and become their true selves.
It was a nonparticular sort of Wednesday afternoon when the raincloud showed up in Jeff’s Room. It was a sort of non particular day in the second grade at school that day, one in which one wasn’t even thinking about a raincloud showing up in one’s room.
Jeff was more interested in thinking about the star wars lego he was going to work on upon his arrival home on Wallace Avenue, and of course…seeing his pet fish. He liked his fish, it never caused too much trouble and didn’t make him sneeze, like dogs or cats do. His fish definitely didn’t bite his ankles like Schumann, his next door neighbor’s cat.
Schuman was marmalade and fluffy, and a musical Genius. Or at least that’s what the internet said, Jeff didn’t know cat’s could compose, but then again, the world was full of things that Jeff was surprised by. To Jeff, Schumann was just a sneezy, attacking, furry fluff ball and was sure the internet had gotten the musical genius part wrong. He watched Schumann daily, conducting his own experiments, documenting Schumann’s every move, waiting to see him play the piano or write down some notes. This was a tricky thing to do, because Schumann was a smart cat, and watched Jeff right back. Waiting to pounce.
Fish he thought were very fastidious. That means finicky, and finicky things were clean things. He learned that new word in school and like to use it. Fish were fastidious because they lived in water, and if you are fastitious you want to stay clean, so living in water was a very smart thing to do.
When Jeff walked into his room that nonparticular Wednesday afternoon and he saw the raincloud in the room he was very surprised. There behind the fish tank, was the raincloud. It floated there, staring at him with big wide raincloud eyes. It was a very little for a raincloud, most rainclouds he had seen were so big they took up the whole sky. This one was as big as his head, and maybe one foot. Yes, a head plus a foot size raincloud he thought.
“Hey Dad, there’s a raincloud in my room!” Jeff hollered at his Dad.
“Okay, Jeff…his Dad hollered back.”
“Don’t you want to see it?”
“I’m sure it’s fine Jeff.” Jeff’s Dad was doing important work stuff on the computer, and not paying attention. His Dad was a scientist and did lots of experiments. But that’s mostly what adults do, work stuff, which is very important, or so they say. So they miss things like rainclouds in rooms.
The raincloud’s eyes got bigger, it seemed that loud sounds scared him.
“Are you scared?” Jeff inquired of the raincloud. The rain cloud started to shake and nod, then dripped water all over the floor.
“Hey dad! The raincloud is peeing on the floor!”
“Jeff, that’s enough. There’s no raincloud in your room, that’s impossible!” He shouted back, “Anyway, rainclouds don’t pee, they rain.” He muttered under his breath as he continued to click clack the keys of the keyboard.
Clearly, Jeff was going to have to manage this raincloud situation by himself; he searched his brain for a lesson from school or boy scout troop eight that would help, but it was Ms. Junebug from down the street that came to mind the most.
“Speak kindly”. This is what Ms. Junebug had said, “Speak kindly because everyone you know if fighting a hard battle.” This quote often came to Jeff’s mind while watching Ms. Junebug plant her azaleas. He never could figure out what battles were going on because no one had swords, swords are for battles, and Ms. Junebug just had a trowel. But maybe gardeners defended themselves in battle with shovels and trowels.
So with Ms. Junebug and azaleas in mind, Jeff spoke in his kindest voice to the raincloud.
“Hi…I’m Jeff. What is your name?”
“Maelstrom.” The raincloud in an almost inaudible whisper.
“Nice to meet you, Maelstrom. That is a rather long name. I actually have a long name too. It’s Jeffery, but everyone calls me Jeff. Can I call you Mal for short?” The raincloud Maelstrom smiled, and nodded.
Kindness seemed to be working, Ms. Junebug was very wise.