If You Steal My Sunshine — Excerpt from And Then it Rained: Lessons for Life

I know it’s up for me, if you steal my sunshine. — Len

Anxiously awaiting next Saturday?? I know I am! In the meantime, here’s a little preview to hold you over :).


I rehashed the conversation on my ride home.  Was there anything I could say to help?  Should I tell her she’s crazy for thinking those things?  What if that made her mad?  Would it make a difference if I told her how much I looked up to her?  Probably not.  She had so many other people in her life who were closer to her.  What could I do?


The second Sunday in August, an idea tunneled from the bottom of my mind like a worm fighting its way through an apple.

I marched inside and straight down to our basement family room, which housed our computer, and yanked the wooden chair from under the desk.  I sat and rested my hands on the cool, plastic keyboard. 

The inspiration to write Maya a letter had come a couple years prior.  How neat for her to walk out to her mailbox one day—long after we’d gone our separate ways—and discover the incredible way she’d affected the life of another person.  She’d done so much for me.  Shouldn’t she know that? 

I hadn’t thought about it much the past few months; the soonest I’d send the letter would be when she went to San Diego State, and even that was over a year away.  But now, other reasons compelled me to write.  I needed to say something, even if no one could hear me.

“Dear Maya, I have no idea how to start this letter.”

After a couple agonizing minutes, I forced myself forward.

“I have contemplated writing it to you for a very long time, and I cannot even begin to imagine what your reaction will be.”

Would she be flattered?  Or would she deem my admiration over the top?  It doesn’t matter.  We’ll hardly know each other by the time she reads this. 

After introducing the letter’s purpose, I moved on to my memorable moments with her  That’s where the letter took on a timeline format—the summer we’d met, how she’d become my idol.

The story about my focus on her academics sparked additional hesitation. Would she be upset at me for calling out something negative?  But to appreciate why she was my idol, she needed to understand how I’d come to recognize those qualities. 

She’d taught me quite a lesson, among other things. 

I took my last bike ride to the coffee shop the following week.  Last, both because school started a day later, and because Maya had informed me that the owner was shutting down the store.  Those slow afternoons were a little too slow. 

Our conversation topics proved more positive this time—school starting, the new apartment she and her friend Chloe were moving into the following weekend.  Yet she still spoke in the same tone—defeated.  The radio played softly in the background, Len’s “Steal My Sunshine.”

I glanced out the window at the threatening clouds, and then back at Maya.  Sounds about right. 

We said our goodbyes and I dashed to my bike, hoping to get ahead of the impending storm. 

Too late.  Five minutes in, the sky unleashed its fury, complete with thunder, lightning, and hard, cold rain. 

What a bad day.

What a bad month, really.

Coming November 12, 2011!


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