It's raining right now. Pretty hard, too. The rain is beating against the window pane and I can feel the cold seeping in from outside. I just know that later, when I go outside, I'll be able to smell it. You know that smell. The "it just rained and everything's starting to dry off" smell. I love that smell.
I was born in Austell, Georgia. The house I grew up in was right across the street from the elementary school that my siblings and I attended. My best friends lived next door, across the street (Not at the school, but across the street the other way. Our house was on the corner.), and halfway down to the cul-du-sac.
The sidewalk near my house had eight handprints on it. When they put it in, Mom and Dad took us out to go make handprints and write our names on the sidewalk.
In the front yard, there was a pear tree that never really produced alot of pears for some reason. Also in the front yard was a tree that was good for climbing. I mean, to even reach the lowest branch, you had to prop your bike up against the tree, but still. Once you got to that first branch, the rest was an easy climb to the top. There was a tree like that in the backyard as well. The climbing tree in the backyard was my favorite. It was right up against the fence, so we could climb up the fence and into the tree with ease. Needless to say, my siblings and I were a climbey bunch of kids. We must've climbed every tree in the neighborhood and the small woods around it at least once each.
So mid '96, when I was about 8 years old, my dad built a loft in the garage. Now, since our house was a split-level house, the garage was pretty darn big. It went from the very bottom, to the very top. And none of the other rooms in the house did that. If it was clean, we could've fit a couple cars in there with plenty of room to spare. But we had so much stuff to store, we could never clean it all. Thus the loft. The loft was supposed to help with storage and getting things out of the way. I'd say it was about 16 feet high, and took up a corner of the garage.
Now, to an eight year old, 16 feet is pretty big. And at first, we probably weren't allowed up there at all. But there were things stacked against the loft, and we were able to climb up and hang out there. Eventually, a TV made it's way into the loft, a couple of cushions, maybe a blanket or two, and it became the place we would go after school to hang out. Just my siblings and I. But mostly just me. I was probably the youngest kid who was allowed up there. My little brothers wanted to come up, but mom never really let them until they were bigger.
So after school, I'd go up to the loft, lay on my stomach next to the 16-foot drop (it's where the tv was, okay?) and watch my afternoon cartoons, play video games or read books. I loved reading books, and I'd be up in that loft for hours at a time with my boxcar children books. Sometimes, my friends and I would hang out in the loft. I think if their parents had seen the loft, they might not have let them come over to our house anymore.
But one of the things I remember most about the loft was that since there was no room above it, and no rooms around it (except the kitchen on the other side of one wall), you could hear the rain very very well. So I would go up to the loft whenever it started raining hard. I say this because when it wasn't raining too hard, I would most definetly be going on adventures in the woods with my friends. But when the heavy rain started and the thunder started pounding, I would go up to the loft, with the lights off, and just lay there, listening. I would even fall asleep sometimes laying there in the dark, listeining to the rain. Since the loft was in the garage, the sound was even louder because of the empty space. I would lay there until mom called me in for dinner or something. It was very nice. And I knew I was safe in the loft. My Daddy built it, so why wouldn't I be? Although I do remember almost falling off of the edge, and that scared the heck out of me. But mostly, I was comfortable with the edge. I would sleep with a leg and an arm hanging off of the edge, or I would be dangling my feet down, or just lay on my stomach and look down at the garage from right there on the edge.
Everytime it rains that hard, I think about the loft, and how I'd love to go back and take a nap in it. But sadly, in the winter of 1999, we tore the loft down because we were moving to Memphis, TN. The people who wanted to buy our house didn't want a loft in their garage, and wouldn't buy our house until we took it down. So down it went. My safe place. My old friend. My loft.