Writing Right Supplement: The Puddle's Tale

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The Puddle's Tale

A puddle in Pittsburgh

It rained all night. Of course it did: it was spring in Pittsburgh. The next morning, the pothole in front of the school was full of water. All day, kids in rubber boots stepped around it (if adults were looking), or in it (if no adults were looking). It was a typical spring day. Somebody called the local radio deejay to see if this particular pothole could be added to the list of 'registered potholes' the station visited in order to play golf in them and shame the city works department. Alternatively, the caller suggested sailing paper boats.

It being Pittsburgh, an angel passed by and gave the pothole a pitying glance. It (the angel, they don't do gender) cast the merest shadow of its hand across the surface of the mildly rippling water, currently free of kid galoshes. The angel passed on.

The puddle awoke. 'Oh, dear, what is this feeling? I'm…alive, I think. The air feels pretty good up there. Look at me! Well, you can look if you have eyes, which I don't. But this…er, hole…feels pretty good. Isn't it remarkable how I exactly fit it? Wow. That's something. I wonder if the hole was designed with me in mind.'

A passing voice interrupted the puddle's thoughts. 'Oh, no you don't, Henry Ferguson! Don't even think of jumping in that nasty puddle! You'll get mud all over your new shoes! Why Mayor Peduto doesn't fix those potholes I'll never understand. Your father voted for him…'

'Oh, no,' groaned the puddle. 'I'm a hazard to shipping. Well, to kids, anyhow. The hole wasn't designed for me. I just fell into it! What a revolting situation. Why did I have to be born in Pittsburgh?'

The puddle thought. 'What am I, really? Am I this hole? No, I'm not! I'm water! Wonderful, fluid Aitch-Two-Oh! I flow, therefore I am. I am only accidentally confined in this muddy hole. It wasn't my fault. It wasn't anybody's fault. It just happened. Oh, if only I could get out of here…'

'Just think where I could be right now! In a lake, or a pond. Or the ocean, swimming with the dolphins! Or flowing through a tap. Or…filling up a Lalique vase, one with an elegant shape…I'd like that…oh, if only somebody would pick me up and set me down in a more desirable location than a Pittsburgh pothole…'

As the puddle dreamed its pleasant dreams of oceans and Lalique vases, the sun finally came out (it does this, even in Pittsburgh, though it takes longer because of the UPMC building and Mount Warshington). Its rays warmed the streets, even the brick ones. Its heat evaporated the rainwater from the night before. Soon the pavement was dry again, and the puddles began to disappear.

'That's a curious sensation,' thought the puddle. 'I'm sort of...melting. It's not unpleasant, though. That sunlight seems to be drawing me upward. It's kind of spiritual, you know?'

And as the puddle thought its unnecessarily devotional thoughts, it gradually dissipated, leaving nothing behind but some grit and a sign that said 'Fill Me Up, Mayor Peduto', which was left by a disgruntled taxpayer. The puddle's water was drawn up, and up, until it joined all the other water from last night's rainfall. For a short time, it hung over the Triangle, before a friendly wind blew it in a northerly direction.

'Whee!' thought the cloud. 'My prayers have been answered! Lalique vase, here I come!'

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Dmitri Gheorgheni

29.06.20 Front Page

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