The Search Begins
The wind was calming down, the thunder was getting quieter, and the lightning was fading. The rain however was ever so persistent. Good thing I had my magical umbrella because my other one would not hold up to the strength of these heavy droplets.
I came to the part of the lane where the tree I had been sitting on earlier should have been but it had disappeared! I was utterly confused. I am not sure why it appeared earlier and why it just decided to disappear now. The only conclusion I could come up with is that maybe Oochoo had transformed his gift, just as he had transformed it into an umbrella for me to use now. I had hoped that I would be able to change it myself some day, but I didn’t complain since it seemed that he knew what was best for me better than I did right now.
I arrived at the end of the lane, but I could not remember what direction Tanya’s house was in. I knew it was in town and the town was north of where we lived but for some reason I was drawing a complete blank. I then remembered that the tallest mountain that I often looked upon, when I went to the forest, was in the north. I scanned the land to spot where it was, but I could not see a thing. The rain was shooting down so hard, it was blinding. I then spotted a thick circle of fog that was spinning. I squinted my eyes to see what was in the middle of this fog, but I still could not see. At this point, I was getting agitated. I looked up into my umbrella and asked, “Please Oochoo or Goasila if you can hear me, can you tell me which direction is north?”
I looked over to the circle of fog and it was spinning faster, and faster. It looked like it was forming a tornado! My heart started to beat faster and harder like the rain. I turned around, about to start running back to the house, but something stopped me. It was my love for Ruth. I knew I had to find her or help her in some way. I could not let my fears stop me. I was often stubborn with many things, which helped me continue doing things I usually didn’t like doing. I was determined to say no to myself, to my fears.
I closed my eyes, stepped out from underneath the umbrella, and raised my head, directing it to the sky. A rush of warmth filled my heart. I opened my eyes and the sun was hitting my face, with clouds all around it and rain still pouring around me. I looked towards the circle of fog again. It was getting clear enough that I could see what was behind it, and sure enough it was the magnificent mountain.
I got back underneath the umbrella, turned right and continued to walk on my journey. It felt like days and days had gone by. My stomach was growling and my feet were aching, but again, I thought of Ruth and how much pain she had to endure in her life. I could not stop. Someone had to be there for her. Someone had to care.
I was finally at Tanya’s house. There was no car in the driveway and no lights on in the house. I deeply hoped that someone was home. I got closer to the house but still there was no sign of anyone home. I thought maybe they were asleep but they couldn’t be, it was only 8 o’clock. I thought that then maybe the power was out. I saw a flickering light in one of the windows, so I walked closer to it. It was a very small window so it was hard to get a good look, but it appeared as if there was a candle lit inside. There was still hope.
I rushed up the steps to their door and gave the doorbell a ring but there was no answer. I tried again, still no answer. I tried one more time and leaned my ear against the door to make sure it was ringing inside. It was not. It may have something to do with the power being out or it was just broken but, either way, I had to knock. I knocked on the door lightly at first, because I was scared of anyone hearing me. The next time I did it louder. I heard footsteps approaching the door. They were heavy footsteps so it could not be Tanya. I started to get scared again. I did not know what I was going to say to this person. I looked like a crazy person, standing out in this storm and they would be sure to realize I walked here since there is no car. I would say that my father drove me and that he is parked farther down the street. Then, I will tell them that we came by to see if Ruth was here. My head started to hurt. My umbrella was still above me as I looked up and I quickly transformed it into a smaller, more normal looking umbrella. It dropped into my hands, and I put it down, along with my thoughts.
The door handle started to jiggle, just a little at first, and then more and more, and louder and louder. The door swung open, the wind helping it along. “That damn door! I need to get the piece of crap fixed!.. Oh, hello, I am sorry dear, just- the door.”
“Yes, I can see that. It is okay.” I stared into the heavy woman’s eyes. It must have been Tanya’s mom. She looked just like her. She was round in size, had dark brown eyes, short blond hair, black eye makeup, bright red lipstick on full tiny lips, and a wide but cute nose. Her choice of clothing today was also not much different from what Tanya would wear. She had a short skirt and a halter top on but, for some reason, she was still sweating. “What is it dear? Don’t just stand there.”
“Oh, sorry. Yes, I am wondering if my sister Ruth is here.” I asked shyly.
“OooH, you’re Ruth’s sister eh? She has been spending a lot of time here you know? From what I gather that father of yours is a nasty one.”
“Yes, he is ma’m.”
“No need to call me ma’m. We are living in the 21st century you know. My name is Helen.” Despite her appearance Helen seemed like a very kind woman.
I smiled, “Yes, that is true. I guess my family is a little bit traditional. So, is Ruth here?” I asked anxiously.
“No, I am sorry. But I believe she is out with Tanya. You can come in and wait for her here. No use waiting in the rain. Did you walk here? Or is someone waiting for you?” I was tempted by her offer, since I was a little soggy and hungry, but I thought I should go look for them myself.
“Yes. I did walk here, but I won’t bother you, I will go and look for her. It’s important.” I said starting to walk away.
“The time you go out and find her they will be home, hun. I always ask that they be here by 9. Besides, you look famished, won’t you come in? I have cookies and homemade lemonade.”
I couldn’t resist, “Well, that does sound pleasant.”
She smiled from ear to ear, “Good then. Come in now, don’t be shy.”
Her house was much like her appearance; loud and tacky, but, in some weird way, it was also comforting. Maybe it was the smell of the cookies, or maybe it was just her kind disposition. Either way, I could see why my sister would rather spend her time here than at home.
Helen asked me all sorts of questions. I felt like I was in an interview. I could understand, though. My sister probably never divulged much, and our family is somewhat infamous. I expected that she would ask lots of questions, because of all the gossip. And, surprisingly, I didn’t mind answering them. It was nice that someone was listening to what I had to say even if what I was saying didn’t have much to do with me. Having someone to talk to also made the time go by faster.
It was already 9 o’clock, but nobody was home yet. “Look at the time. They should be home any minute. Don’t look so worried, they are often a few minutes late.” Just then the door swung open and I sighed heavily with relief.
But it wasn’t Ruth, it was only Tanya. “Where is Ruth honey? Her sister is here for her, she says it is important.”
Tanya scrunched her nose then let out an irritated huff before saying, “What makes you think she was with me?”
“Well, she is usually with you, isn’t she?” Helen asked.
“Not lately mom, you know that.” She said as she threw her purse on the floor, and kicked off her boots.
“No, I don’t know that, what is going on?”
“We got into a fight last week, about this boy. She thinks I stole him from her, but I didn’t- he just asked me out and she liked him apparently. She never even told me she liked him so how was I supposed to know? So I went on a date with him anyways, and she went crazy!”
Both Helen and I looked shocked. I didn’t even know that my sister cared much for boys. But I guess most 14 year old girls do. “What did she do?” I asked nervously.
Her eyes grew larger, she took a deep breath, and started to talk faster than ever as she plopped down on the comfy velvet couch, “She was spying on us while we were having dinner at that restaurant, The Grill. But that is not all: she even came over and interrupted our date! We were just sitting there having a pleasant time, and he put his hand on my hand and out of nowhere we heard this huge bang! She was standing up at her table, (she had been hiding behind a menu) and her chair was on the floor. She was even holding a knife! I was terrified!”
“Oh my God! That can’t be, my sister is not like that. You are lying!” I insisted as I stood up with my arms flailing.
“No, Liz, seriously. I didn’t think she would do a thing like that either, but she just snapped. I don’t know. She has just been extra weird lately. I am sure you have noticed.”
I calmed down and sat back down on the couch, “Well, kind of. She has been sleeping more in her room or hasn’t been home at all, and I did feel like something was wrong. That is why I am here.”
“Well, you have good instincts because there is definitely something wrong. Now, where was I? Oh! Right, so yeah, we just saw her there standing with a knife in her hand, and we thought she was going to come after us but she just came over to us, dug the knife into the table, and said ‘Don’t ever talk to me ever again’. Then she just stormed out of there! I could not believe it.”
“When was this Tanya?” I asked very concerned.
“Just last night. I don’t know how she found out where we were. I hadn’t talked to her since a week before that when we were fighting about the guy. I wish now that we never got into that fight. It was so stupid! I am so mad at myself. But, that is where I was- looking for her.”
“Well, don’t beat yourself up too much. I guess we both had the same idea tonight. I promised I would not give up until I found her. Will you please help me to continue to look for her? I know she is not at home.”
“Yes, of course. I feel so terrible. Mom? Will you drive us around for a bit?”
“Sure honey, I am getting worried myself.”
It was settled then. I now had some people to support me in my search, which made me feel better about the whole thing. However, now I was even more worried because she was already at a fragile point in her life. I felt so bad for her. I prayed that she would receive my love and come home safely. Until then I would not give up looking for her, even if we had to search all night.