“Water Under the Roof” By Emma Shaffer

I take my hand mirror out of my bag. I look at my reflection. My brown, curly hair and my gold eye shadow are perfect as always. I think about what my parents told me, “Don’t worry, Pumpkin, you will have a great time this summer with your uncle in Puerto Rico.” Though I put on a brave face for my parents, I am worried. I have heard so many rumors about Puerto Rico such as flooding, hurricanes, and worst of all, Uncle Eric might even ask me to swim!

I shake off all those scary thoughts as our private jet lands in the airport. I step into the car as the chauffeur takes my luggage from the ground and puts it in the car.

“Be careful with my violin!” I exclaim. My parents told me that they were going to Europe for business, and I needed to stay with my Uncle Eric who I have met only once when I was a baby. Personally, I believe they want me to have a relaxing vacation because I definitely need one. I just finished seventh grade and it was impossible. I bet eighth grade will be a breeze.

The car stops in front of an old broken down house. I guess it used to be bright pink, but now it is an ugly shade of pinkish-grey. I ask Dave, the chauffeur, why we stopped here in this ugly town. “Did the car break down?” I asked.

“No, Miss Lucy,” states Dave, “this will be your second home for the summer.”

“WHAT!” I shriek. “I can’t live in this dump,” I whined.

An old man with a beard comes out of the house. He casually states, “What’s up, Lucy? I haven’t seen you since you were baby.”

“Well, this is just great,” I mumbled. That man must be Uncle Eric.

The man looks up and tells Dave, “You better leave. It looks like there’s a storm brewing,” he chuckles to himself.

“What kind of storm?” I ask nervously.

“Oh, Maybe a hurricane,” states Uncle Eric. I take out my cell phone. It has a pink, sparkly case. I look at my weather app. I read, “Extreme weather alert. There is a hurricane headed towards Puerto Rico.”

“This is shaping up to be a horrible vacation,” I mutter under my breath. “No beach, no sand, no sunbathing, no shopping, and no fun” I sigh. As Dave leaves the rain starts coming down. I quickly run inside. Uncle Eric follows me in, and offers to give me a tour of the house. I decide to accept because I need to know where my room is in the house. He shows me one shabby room after another. The rooms smell like dust and mold. All of them have the same greyish pink color. Uncle Eric shows me my room. It looks like the other rooms except I see water dripping from the ceiling. Uncle Eric runs downstairs to get a pot. Then, he slowly walks back up. He puts the pot under the leak and cheerfully jokes, “There, good as new.”

Uncle Eric announces that he is going to bed in the basement. I sit down on my bed and watch the water drip as I think, “There is no way I am living here all summer.” I play on my iPad for a couple hours, and then suddenly, I stop. Something sounds off. I close my iPad case and listen. I hear the drips in my room, but farther away I hear rushing water. Then, I hear a small cry for help. I realize that it’s Uncle Eric shouting my name. I run downstairs and go to the basement steps. There is nothing to see except water! I hear it again.

“Lucy!” he shouts.

I yell back, “I’m coming Uncle Eric.” I then realize that I need to face my fear of swimming and save Uncle Eric. Without a second thought, I dive in.

“Ewww!” I shout. The water is brown and gross, but I have to focus on saving Uncle Eric. I swim over to him. He is having trouble breathing. Who knows how long he’s been down here. He’s floating flat on the water. I grab him and pull him over to the stairs. We crawl upstairs and he collapses on the sofa. He then tells me that he is okay. I sit down next to him, and as I sit there, I see how amazing his house is. There are so many decorations, vases, jewelry, and clay pots. I never saw the beauty in Uncle Eric’s house. I was so busy looking at the walls that I never saw any details.

I grab my phone and call my parents. They pick up, and I tell them what happened to Uncle Eric and then about how I now see the beauty in things that might not be so glamorous. I also add, “Not only do I want to stay with Uncle Eric all summer, can I come back next year?” Uncle Eric hears me and smiles. He takes my phone and tells my parents that I would be welcome to stay here next summer.

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