The turtle is outside again in his usual outfit. That’s what I call him because I don’t know his real name. I watch him adjust his rainbow-colored umbrella hat from my bedroom window. He’s also wearing a pair of striped rainbow socks. I can see his socks because he has exceeded the appropriate length of what the material is meant to be worn for. He’s been wearing the same grey pants every time he comes out to his yard. The never-ending raindrops turn his pants into a darker shade of grey. He doesn’t seem to mind it, though. On his back, he carries a full forest green backpack. I’ve never seen him without it. It’s like his shell. Those high-water pants, circus hat, his green hunch–doesn’t he know it all looks tacky?
Most of the time he’s in his backyard. He’s looking up at the sky. Out of curiosity, I stick my face to the windowpane to see if there’s anything there. Nothing other than grey clouds and rain. It’s hard to imagine what blue skies look like. that last time I saw blue skies. I open my bedroom window, smelling the polluted rain. A cool breeze passes my face, causing my hair to fall off my shoulders — the rain pitter-patters on my rooftop. I take off the mesh screen on my window.
“Hey!” I shout from the second floor. The turtle spins in circles, searching for where he heard the sound from.
He spots me and does a double take.
“Hello?” He has a confused look on his face. It’s probably because this is the first time in a while that we’ve exchanged words since I moved in a couple of years ago.
“What’s up with your hat?” I ask him.
“So I don’t get wet,” he says with a straight face.
I try to cover my laugh by looking back into my room. It’s raining cats and dogs, and he’s drenched. I think he saw me, so I ask him another question quickly.
“What’s in the sky? Why do you keep looking at it?”
“I’m searching for answers.” His voice is deeper than I expected.
“Answers for what?”
“If the rain is ever going to stop. If the world is going to end.” His eyes fix on the slow-rolling clouds. He wipes the water droplets from his cheeks.
“What do you mean?” I ask, knowing exactly what he is talking about. I hated thinking about the truth in his words. The world doesn’t look like how it did twenty years ago. I wasn’t born then, but I’ve seen pictures of our neighborhood. It used to look a lot more beautiful and livelier. Now everything is colorless and covered with water. They warned us about this.
“Well…take a look for yourself. It’s a mess out here. The streets are flooded, peoples’ houses are drifting away, it’s a complete disaster. Probably, by next week, our neighborhood is going to drown.” He crouches down and digs through his turtle shell. I’m not paying attention to what he’s looking for. I’m too busy sulking.
“I hate the rain.” I let out a deep sigh. It isn’t the rain I hate, but the future the rain brings.
“Hey!” He brings my mind into the present again. “Take this.” A rainbow umbrella hat lands a foot away from me on my roof.
“What’s this for?” Now I have a matching hat with the turtle.
“A gift. You’re going to need it next week. The heavens look different. I think they changed their minds to come sooner.” He zipped back up his backpack and started walking back to his house.
I had to reach far to grab the hat. I rotated it and observed each color. I looked at the yard to thank the turtle boy for the hat, but he was already inside. I used to make fun of his attire. I don’t anymore. That was the last time I saw him. I guess the turtle swam away.