[Previously Published as "The Resort"]
A light rain was falling throughout the day. A late August sprinkling that sometimes pretended to disappear but always left behind its chilling breath. It made the Catskills forget that summer was still here.
The cloudy shades of grey moved steadily, the lower layer more swiftly. A faint mirage glowed through the thinner layers. It was the sun, dimmed, and not nearly as warm as yesterday.
Some of the guests at the Ukrainian Resort complained about the weather, saying that it gave them nothing to do for the rest of the day. And yet, they always talked with one another, laughing at the slightest anecdote. They seemed happy.
I on the other hand, adored the summer rain and its impending challenge; daring me to extract a magical color from its monochromatic gray cover.
I always enjoyed sitting on the porch, just out of the rain's reach, embarking on imaginary journeys that were cradled with quiet sensations of thought. Perhaps it was the natural rhythm of splashing waters that never let me disappear completely, though, it was spellbinding.
The breathless excursions of running play were usually left to the sunny empty spaces. Sometimes, I played both sides. However, on this particular day my fanciful daydreams were sliced open and, inside, I saw loneliness for the first time. I did not know that it would be so painful.
After dinner, the rain eased up a bit, enough to allow for casual strolling on the grounds by some of the guests. A group of nearby neighbors started up a volleyball game on one of the courts. A few of the younger guests joined them.
Being so late in the season, it was too cold even for swimming up here, my favorite; not too many nearby pools in the city. Unfortunately too, most of my friends from back home were either on trips elsewhere or home getting ready for school starting, and there weren't any other kids my age to play with, only Sonya and Irena. They were sisters. Sonya was the oldest, she was four. I was nine and a half.