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"When the rain washes you clean you'll know....you will know." Fleetwood Mac

I enjoy sometimes walking in a nice warm gentle rain. Windy rain is no good - the drops sting my skin. But gentle rains on warm or hot days are perfect. The way the drops touch me like a lover, finding just the right spot that I wasn't even aware of a moment before. The way the water runs over my skin sensually.

The way I feel purified, as if all the dirt and struggle of the day is washed away. As if each moment of anger, of impatience, of not really acknowledging the people I spoke to has been forgiven.

I walk with no hat, sometimes no coat. The rain runs through my long hair, completely soaking it within a few minutes if it's a good rain. My hair becomes plastered to my head, shoulders, back. The water flowing through my hair, through my fingers, through my soul.

And I am alive. Pure, simple, aware only of being wet, gentle drops, a soft breeze.
I peer out of the window, met with nothing but darkness and my own reflection, the building so silent and empty and I imagined only him and I are there.

"I think it's raining," I told him. I could see the drops beginning to splatter against the glass. "It's really raining." My eyes refocus and I can see the reflection of him through the window. He's watching me and he sees that I'm watching him. The moments stretch on and I think I keep repeating "I think it's raining" but I can't be sure.

He tries to teach me to stand properly, how to hit the ball, how to follow through. Sometimes I wonder now if the most important thing he'll ever teach me is how to play pool.

We walk out of the building. The rain had stopped, the streets black and gleaming. There's nothing more I want, nothing more than this perfect moment, him and I, walking on the rain drenched streets in the middle of the night. It begins raining again after a while and our pace doesn't quicken.

"You make me nervous," he says once. And I didn't expect it.

"Why?"

"I dunno. Our nonverbal communication."

But the silence continues.

We stood outside waiting for the taxi and there were so many things I needed to say, the unspoken words crushing my very chest. But instead I sat silently in the taxi, bidding goodbye to the city with my quiet tears.

The plane's arrived. He only nods, not looking at me but off in the distance, thoughtful. I want to scream at him, but instead, "I'd better go."

I embrace my sister, her husband, then turn to him. We hug and I hold in the words, the tears, and his smile is soft. As I begin walking away his lips move, just ever so slightly that I can imagine he mouths the words "I love you" but I can't be sure. I can never be sure. I can never be sure if it was real or just another illusion I've created.

All I can only be sure of loving him that night, walking in the rain.
I had to get cigarettes. That's all I knew and I was running with it, running out the door with my bike as the fattest and first drops of rain were beginning to freckle the sidewalk. I knew I wouldn't come back looking the same.

I was barely down two streets before twin sheets of white flashed over my face. The lightning felt so close I could almost shave with it. I locked my bike to a pole and walked the rest of the way. I avoided awnings and balconies above that would have proven shelter, as it had for those I passed, for those who ran pell mell across building rivers. With every standing face I passed, I smiled to myself. You don't understand, it said. I live here. We live for rain like this.

In the turbulence of my own life, I am forced to see the blessings. But no, see you don't understand, I tell them. We have really been blessed with this weather. Normally we just get a storm a day, and brief. It never covers us like this.

I darken the mat in front of Sidney's Mart. Moments before a passerby egghead noted, "Wow, you're wet." Genius. Hey lady, this brainiac your beau? You better hold onto him. He's a fucking keeper. The slim girl behind the counter knows ahead to put my smokes in a plastic bag. "Change too?" she asks. Change too.

On my way back to the half mark where my bike was, I passed a girl in a dress that I'd seen on my way into the Quarter. She handed me her camera, looking dipped in orange rubber, and asked if I would take her picture, a picture of her running in the rain. And of course I did.

I couldn't help but whooop and hollar, as though cheering on some invisible game, watching a hidden fireworks display. Every face in every window of every coffee shop stared back at me with a puzzled concern, as though, if I had indeed lost my mind, that soon they would have to come out and face me, and this troubled them. A man walking a block behind me was making loud and pointed monkey sounds, as though calling me an animal for not caring how wet I got, just walking there. My Chucks coal black against my socks which by now where closer to sidewalk than white. I thought then it would have been better for me to have worn a white shirt, but again I was drawing enough attention on my own, shaking my hair out like the full body of a dog.

Everyone must have feared that the fireworks of that evening would be cancelled, that their mid-week break would be ruined. I knew better. At 6 on the dot in stopped, just in time for me to arrive back at my apartment, peeling clothes off of me like discarded leaves.

I couldn't have planned this better.

I knew I had to do laundry today.

Yes, I planted thoughts in my head that attempted a delay at actually doing the laundry, but the procrastination turned annoying. I gathered my laundry together, walked to the laundry room in the apartment complex, dumped two loads into the machines, and went home.

I watched a bit of TV for awhile, and realized I had to put in the last load of clothes, and move the other two to the dryer. I left my building, and noticed the first few drops of rain starting to fall.

After moving two loads of clothes into the dryer and started a wash of the third, I opened the door to leave the laundry room.

It was pouring.

I wasn't in a rush to get home, nor was I wearing any exceptional clothing - just a t-shirt and an old pair of shorts. So I walked. I walked back to my building in the pouring rain. I arrived at my door soaking wet, and invigorated. It felt fantastic! (In retrospect, I wish I had the opportunity to go with no clothes. That would have felt great.)

I can't wait to put the rest of the clothes in the dryer.


I am left with the dilemma, however, of how to get my clothes back to my house totally dry.

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