By ABIGAIL KOERNER
When we were on our way home it started to rain. I ran off in my direction and you in yours while it started to pour. And, oh, did it pour! It rained like crazy and I was drenched. My glasses were impossible to see through; clothes were plastered to my skin; hair wet and wild and hitting me in the face and splattering me with water when I turned my head too fast.
I could have gone home with you. We could have gone in and changed clothes and had a coffee together in newly found warmth. But if we had run through the rain together, I wouldn’t have run through it laughing to myself. I ran alone and squished and splashed and laughed and laughed! I would not have laughed so much.
We would run; we would stop. I would look up into your eyes and put my hands in yours and our eyes would meet. Our lips would meet. But a sweet kiss in the rain was not on my agenda.
Running and jumping and leaping – I hopped through puddles. Mascara ran down my face like the raindrops that drip-dropped down my body. I should have been uncomfortable but I was too free to care. Giggles escaped my throat like the rain which escaped the sewer grates and gutters to flood the street. Now it was really pouring.
When I turned around, so close to changing my mind —running after you and catching up— I saw how you walked away. Your head down and headphones in as you went. My grin from ear to ear squished down to its smallest form. The storm stopped overhead as if time would end momentarily and all there was to do was stand still. So I stood. Drenched and frowning, my hood fell down from where it once stood atop my head. In that moment, I looked like you. Head down, headphones in, walking and not running in the rain.
Turning on my heel, I stole one last look. All I could see was sadness.
The clouds got darker, thunder boomed. Heavy and heavier drops began to fall. My hood, once my protector from wet, became a bucket where water would collect. It was so heavy. My clothes were drenched and boots sloshed in the road. Any inch of space was soaked. The clouds were overwhelming.
With miles to go, miles and miles from home, I turned my face to the sky. If only I had windshield wipers on my glasses to wipe away raindrops that felt like tears! Thunder roared and wind whipped but my gaze was steady and my body was still, facing the storm that danced above me. I couldn’t bring my gaze back down to Earth where water ran and mud brewed in the grass underneath me. I mourned my time in dryness; when we were together. When my heart could breath. With rain pouring and in the stillness of the moment, my chest was wet and cold. My heart beat slowly like the pound of thunder every other minute. Thunder vibrated through my arteries and back through my veins.
My heart hated this moment. My toes were too numb. Blood had to pump faster or my poor organ feared we would not survive the storm…
When I turned my head in your direction, you were gone. Surely not dry but finally on my way to dryness, I walked. Slowly but surely down the road, I walked, like the blood which slowly began to flow again underneath the shell of moisture which encased my body. Faster and faster my boots hit the concrete. No water which flowed or clouds which rumbled with thunder that boomed could stop me from getting home. Home where my wet body and wet heart and wet hair would be back in the place that I used to love most: solitude.
Without you, I danced in the rain. Alone again, I found rhythm in the raindrops as they fell around me. Heavy clouds parted slightly to make heavy drops into mere drips. The pitter patter of drizzle as day turned to night was perfect. It was still raining but I could feel my toes again. I looked forward to every puddle and in every puddle I would dance. I walked a thousand miles away from you. No, a kiss in the rain was not on my agenda.
Abigail Koerner ([email protected]) writes short fiction, but not always in the rain.