The Realness of the Rain

I’m going to call this picture a joint effort– my cousin Laura discovered the picture and added it to her Facebook profile, while my (incredibly encouraging and wonderful <3) Aunt Rachel brought it to my attention 🙂

Now, you may think from this picture that the story is going to go in one direction, when in reality, I decided to go another. If you’ve kept up with my stories at all, you will notice that this tends to be a theme with me…

This story is also much more literary in nature. Some people love that kind of thing, others hate it. I fall into the latter category, but since one of the main keys of this whole blog is to try a bunch of different genres, I figured I’d try it. Because, why not! 😀

Also, quick question for you guys: I’m in the process of loosely piecing together another novel. This one is sci/fi in nature. Any chance you guys would help an aspiring writer out and give me some helpful criticism if I decided to post the first part of it in chunks over the course of a few weeks? Just let me know in the comments below!

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Here is, ‘The Realness of the Rain’:

~~

I once walked for eight hours in the rain because it was far more real to me than the sunshine. The water enveloped me. Droplets ran across my skin, running over nerve ends, reminding me I was alive. That I could still feel things, even when I felt numb inside.

Why do people bemoan rainy days? I’ve never understood it.

Rain is nature’s cleaning agent. Haven’t you seen the rain running through the dirt, carving out deep valleys through the ground, trying to wash every speck away? It does not stop until it hits that which will not be displaced.

Rain brings life. Haven’t you seen the way the trees seem more vibrant after life-giving showers? The way the green sheen of the leaves seems a little more lustrous? Have you touched the leaves during a rain shower? They are soft. Smooth. Happy.

There is an almost perfect picture in the doctor’s office. One of a path, softly kissed by the patched rays of sunshine finding their way through the leaves and down to the earth. The scene is startling to the senses because it is in such contrast to the bland colors and tuneless music of the office waiting room.  It is a fake testament to those who are waiting: “You may be here now, and things may seem grim, but look how perfect this scene is somewhere in the world. Perhaps your situation is not so bleak. Perhaps one day you will be in this idyllic setting, walking down this well-worn, well-loved path.”

Is that supposed to make me happy? Am I supposed to be overjoyed knowing there is a perfect, slightly sun-bathed, dirt path somewhere in this world? I imagine the picture just as it is, but with one exception. In my mind, water dances through the leaves. Droplets run down the rough clothes of the trees and form puddles along the slightly more sunken parts of the path.

I imagine I am on that path. That I turn my face up to heaven and let the water that makes it through the branches soak through to my skin, telling me it’s okay to be less than perfect. Then I kick through the puddles and watch as the water splashes up toward me, my shoes and socks getting soggy, the skin of my feet damp and soft. The rain in this fantasy tells me no lies. I hear only its soft whispers, its words indiscernible yet comforting as it calls to me.

“Jennifer Walker?”

My head snaps away from the picture and toward the nurse at the door. She looks tired standing there in her peach colored scrubs, manila file-folder in her hands. My folder, but that means as little to her as it means much to me.

I stand and walk, my feet numb from my jaunt through the cold puddles. But then I remember that my feet are not actually wet. I remember that I was not on that perfect path with the perfect rain. The numbness has nothing to do with the rain at all.

“It’s vasculitis,” the doctor says, pointing at something on the screen that is incomprehensible to me. We both know that I don’t know what he’s pointing at. We both pretend that I do. “Rare, but not unheard of in people with your condition. We’ll get you started on an anti-inflammatory.”

I nod. He types.

I step from the building that houses the doctor’s office. Inside, I feel as numb as my feet do. The darkness that I have been fighting to keep far away from me these last few weeks is sneaking up on me again. It thinks it’s tricky, that darkness. It thinks I don’t know when it’s coming, but I do. I see it, and yet most times do nothing to shore up against its ugly siege. Sometimes, I wonder if I obtain a certain morbid joy from those sieges, as if they give me an excuse to sleep and eat and cry while doing little else. Without the excuse of the darkness, I would have to pretend like I was okay. Like I wasn’t aware there is this thing in me that is slowly extinguishing what little fire of life I still have left.

Above me, the skies open up, and a cold, steady rain begins to fall. I look up, close my eyes, and smile welcomingly at it. In the shadows of the heavy clouds, their burden unleashed on me, the darkness cannot survive. For me, that darkness only lives on in the fake cheeriness of a sunny day. In the deluge, only the fire survives.

Everything will be okay. The rain will wash. The rain will cleanse. And for at least a little bit, it will bring me new life.

For eight hours I walk in the rain, because it is far more real to me than the sunshine.

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