Myrtle Birch was a simple girl with simple desires. Her heart was on her sleeve as her thoughts came unfiltered from her mind. This could cause a bit of a stir among those around her but she meant well for the most part. Thus, one could count on Myrtle to speak the truth in any situation but this caused many to believe her to be a pessimist by nature. This outlook severely affected a pair of young twins named London and Landon. They lived next door to the girl and they preferred the sunny days that surrounded the atmosphere of their home. They clung dearly to these moments to avoid the shadows that dealt so close to them.
One day, a storm covered the blue sky above while thunder rolled in from the East, bringing lightning with him. London covered herself with a blanket, only peeking out with quivering green eyes to spot Landon building a fortress around their bunk beds.
“Will this protect us at all, Landon?” London inquired softly.
Now Landon was older than London by 7 minutes and 23 seconds; a position he prided himself in and took the role of knight to heart. He would avoid telling the full truth sometimes to guard his little sister’s fragile heart. “It will, I’ll make it hold fast until the storm blows through. I promise.”
The thunder let lose a roar that appeared to gather the sounds whistled from deep within the house itself. London squeaked and hid again while Landon grabbed his wooden sword and shield. He glared intently at their bedroom door, his green eyes blazing fire, dangerous and impassioned.
Clunk. Landon spun on his heel and waved his sword to and fro in response to the sudden noise. He was breathing heavily as the tension made his skin crawl. Clunk. This time, Landon saw what it was; a rock hitting their window. Followed by another and then another at a time, who was throwing them?
London came out from under the covers as Landon crept to their window seat. There, out in the rain with a purple rain suit on and umbrella, was Myrtle Birch. Once she spotted the black hair of the twins, she smile with a wave, urging them outside. “Come on outside, I bet you’ve never played in the mud puddles before!”
She wasn’t wrong, the twins mainly avoided the outdoors when it was rainy and damp. Why go out when the sun wouldn’t be there to smile upon you? The clouds just…seemed moody and that affected you. London and Landon shared a glance, silently debating their choices. He shrugged. “What do you think, Lon?”
“Maybe we could try, I kind of want to know Myrtle anyway, Lan.” His sister responded timidly. The matter was settled so they helped each other with their rain gear before sneaking out the door, down the hallway, down the stairs, and past the kitchen to the back door. They ran over the pathway as the rain dripped down the plastic coats. The sounds of the earth under their boots made London a little uncomfortable but the smell of the world shocked both of them.
It was clean. Clean like they smelled after a bath when they had been playing all day. This sparked their curiosity and they quickly went out the gate to the long stretch of grass between houses.
Myrtle spun around with a giggle. Her blonde, curly hair bounced with her movements, almost catching on her umbrella handle in her absentminded dance. Her purple boots were caked with mud and grass and some mud managed to flung itself onto the hem of her coat. The twins stopped just at the edge of the mud pit, hesitating to join in Myrtle’s odd game. This caused Myrtle to pause and question them.
“Why the long faces? Don’t you like the rain?” “Well, rainy day are just…” “Moody and sad and make us feel sleepy.” Landon and London replied respectively. Myrtle pursed her lips with a hand on her hip. “Y’all are looking at it wrong then,” she replied bluntly as she marched over to them. “Rainy days shouldn’t be ALL that. There are good things in them, like this mud; the smell of the earth, the purifying rain, when you think of it like a shower upon nature instead of the clouds crying, it becomes a lot more hopeful and cheery in a way. That’s why I invited you two here with me,” Myrtle nudged their boots with hers. Some mud was smudged on their yellow and orange boots and the twins seemed more conflicted.
“You only come out on sunny days because that’s where you escape but you can escape here too. I want to be there and show you more to the world. There’s hope, a greater Hope than you know.” Myrtle smiled wide. A warm, inviting smile which became contagious to the twins. Their faces lit up at her promise and they stepped into the mud with her.
Landon and London spent the rest of the afternoon with Myrtle. It was true what they heard, she was simple and bluntly honest but a far brighter optimist than they thought they were themselves. Hope, they thought, Myrtle showed us that greater Hope today.