Life #23

I found a story today, a story I’ve been wanting to find for a long time. I first read it in seventh grade and it was about a girl who lived on Venus where it rained every day, rained so hard that the people were washed out by all that rain. Every seven years, the sun came out for an hour, and the story was about the children who got a chance to run under that sun and the girl who did not. Her name was Margot.

The story is called “All Summer in a Day” and it was written by Ray Bradbury, but I didn’t remember that part. I had a feeling it was by Bradbury and that was part of the reason I wanted to reread it. Years after I first read this story, I read Bradbury’s biography and the strangest thing happened. I remembered stories I had read before that were written by Bradbury, just from reading his biography.

Let me be clear. I didn’t read descriptions of the stories and recognize them. I didn’t remember story titles or have any recollection of the name of the author who had written them. When I picked Ray Bradbury’s biography from a list of required summer reading, I had no idea who he was. It was the descriptions of other stories portraying macabre and startling worlds that made me realize these, too, must have been written by him. Must have.

Ray Bradbury’s writing stuck to the edges of my mind in a way that I couldn’t understand. I have a fairly good memory, but I know I’ve forgotten the details of so many stories just because of the sheer number of them that I’ve read. And when I can remember the facts of a story, I’m horrible at remembering images, even from stories I’ve read a dozen times. But I could see the girl staring out the window at the rain, the jungles of Venus climbing and growing and overtaking everything, the sun, like copper, so small and so huge. I read it once, quickly, for a middle-school English class and it became a permanent part of my life that I couldn’t shake off. All it took was learning who Ray Bradbury was to know in my gut that he had written this story. Who else?

I never searched for it online or did anything to confirm that he had written it. No point; I knew. But since then, I’ve searched for it casually, picking up his short story collections whenever I had a chance, knowing that I would eventually stumble upon it if I just kept reading. Sure enough, I found it today in my copy of A Medicine for Melancholy, which I came across at a second-hand bookstore months ago and took home for $5. I didn’t recognize the title, but I knew which story it was as soon as I saw the words, “It rained”. I closed the book and waited for a chance to read it when I wasn’t on my break at work, grabbing five minutes in another world before I went back to wearing an apron and straightening boxes of notecards.

It was everything I remembered.

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