Sunshine in the Rain
Monday morning I listened to WAMU for over an hour and every damn weather update informed me, and all the other listeners, that it was going to be “sunny” and “highs in the low to mid 80’s” with “a scattering of showers in the evening.”
At around 5:45 p.m. I was leaving an appointment and before I even got out the door the sky cracked open and thunder sounded. It only lasted five minutes, but this was not a “scattering” of showers. Then I headed to a session (read Therapy). Afterwards, I hung out at the library for a while and around 8:15 p.m. I started home. E phoned and I relayed the above story to her about the weather and I said, “You should have seen all these people running. God was looking down and saying, ‘you jackasses’.”
E laughed and said, “I was just thinking Gods got jokes.” [Of course I should tell you that when I think of God speaking and thinking it is in my voice which is totally inappropriate—but hey you read my disclaimer and God knows my heart so whatever.]
At any rate, God does have jokes because as I walked home I was just between 16th and Park when it got even darker and I said to E, “I gotta go it’s about to pour.” It was pointless to jump on an S bus (not nearly as interesting as the 50s, X2, 42 or 90s) because I would still have to walk two blocks north and one block east to my apartment from the bus stop. Thus I pulled out my umbrella and secured my big bag beneath it (can’t have my MacBook Air getting wet—it was a gift).
Evidently attributing my potty mouth to God was about to get me my comeuppance. The rain was hard, fast, and the wind was blowing. I started slip sliding in my leather flip-flops and I couldn’t walk my fast walk to get my ass home quickly and out of the rain. So, I took off my flip-flops and started walking barefoot. The ground beneath my feet was still warm from the Sun when it was smiling earlier.
I paused for a second and tried to remember when was the last time I had walked barefoot in the rain. I know I’m a huge cliché. Then I caught a glimpse in the corner of my right eye. It was of me, the summer before I turned 12. I was in Tampa, Florida, visiting my grandmother (who used to be my namesake, Not the one that this blog is in honor of) with my father and older brother.
The sun had been bright all day and I had drawn a hopscotch pattern outside the little complex of attached houses where Grandma lived. I was in a skirt because the religion I practiced, with my mother, forbid women and girls to wear anything in the likeness of men and boys—no pants. I didn’t care because it was summertime and even to this day I love skirts and dresses over pants in the summer.
I was playing by myself. M, my older brother, was sitting on the curb with some much older boys. Then I heard a noise and I looked up and it was raining, but the Sun kept smiling at me. She shined even brighter as the petals of water dripped dropped all over me. Then the rain, washed away my hopscotch drawing, but I kept throwing the rock and hopping. M went inside and came out with his fishing rod. He has always been odd. The entire drive to Florida he had talked about getting a fishing rod and a boat to go fishing.
Why the hell he had come up with this idea I do not know. However, my father obliged him with the fishing rod as soon as we got to Florida, but no boat. So, as I hopped and skipped on a washed away hopscotch drawing, M cast and recast his fishing rod into the puddles alongside the curb. The rain was warm, the sun was hot, I took off my little sandals and the ground was warm.
I looked to my left and my father was snapping pictures of me. I turned away and kept up my barefoot game of make believe hopscotch. Grandma came to the screened door and said, “Chile a mine Ima havata redo yo hair.” I smiled at her. I was her favorite and I said, “Okay.” And the Sun kept shining and the rain kept coming and the ground stayed warm and it all felt like life would get better.
At almost 12 I knew of physical and mental pain. I did not play often and I rarely smiled or laughed. I was never a relaxed child. But that day, I loved the feel of rain, bright Sun, and my bare feet lightly stroking the ground. I look back now and I see that it was the last time I would ever see the Sun together again with the Rain in my life. Everything changed that evening.
My life. My life. There is Sun and then there is Rain. There is Light and then there is Darkness. And all I want is to go back to that moment when I was almost 12 and plant my bare feet on ground that is warm from the Sun that continues to shine while it is raining.