Embrace the Rain

I woke up to the pitter patter of incessant rainfall. Another grey Saturday morning here to ruin my mood. I got out of my bed and checked my cabinets but remembered that I had eaten the last of my bagels the previous weekend. I always seemed to be in short supply of sustenance. There was a bagel shop a couple of blocks away, it wouldn’t be hard to throw on some clothes and make my way over there. But I was still adjusting to the ghostly chill of the air in my studio and dreaded having to walk in this awful weather. But I had no other option. I put on my slate grey rain coat. It had a gaping hole in the left pocket from the jaws of the scrappy Aussie that kept me company for eight long months. He was with a new family now, hand selected by myself, his former mom. And now the apartment was plagued by silence. The only noises now were from the outside, the branches of a tree outside my window screeching against the glass like a furious banshee, car horns blaring, junkies cursing at the top of their lungs, teenagers giggling. But more often than not, there was the sound of rain.
I wanted to put on my waterproof boots but I had wandered into a pile of dog shit a few days past and had trouble scraping it all off with a plastic spoon. There were so many deep grooves and I could only handle the smell for so long. When I opened my shoe closet I could still detect the tainted scent of it. I went for my scuffed up, brown leather boots, hoping the puddles wouldn’t be as deep as they had been at the beginning of the week. I zipped up my coat and looked in the mirror. I hated how the rain coat made me look shorter than I already was. It was too long to be short and too short to be long.
I walked outside and realized the rain was coming down even harder than I had anticipated. I put my hood up. I was wearing jeans and I thought about how it would take a while for them to dry once I got back home and how it’d be impossible to fully relax in damp pants. It was also so much colder than I had thought it’d be. I thought about how I wished I had a coat that was thicker than a rain coat but still impervious to the wet and wind. Or maybe I should have grabbed a scarf. I definitely should have put on my knit beanie instead of wrestling my bed head into a messy top knot. I caught a glimpse of my reflection in a store window. With the hood over my bun I looked like a cone head. While I was focused on my distorted image, I stepped right in a massive puddle. There must have been an unassuming gap between my boot and the sole of my right shoe because immediately I could sense the water rushing in. I cringed at every squish squish I felt when I took another step. I’d definitely have to change socks when I got home. But I wasn’t sure I had any clean ones left. Me and my procrastination.
And that’s when I saw him. An older gentleman, probably in his late sixties, wearing nothing but a pine green University of Oregon sweatshirt sporting massive holes, a pair of ill-fitting light wash jeans and white sneakers, every crevice etched with dirt. He had his hands in his pant pockets and was walking across the same intersection as I was but he seemed so strangely serene. There was no trace of discomfort in his face, he looked straight ahead with a hint of a smile. He didn’t hesitate when he stepped in the same puddle I had but he kept walking, no marching, without an ounce of concern. He was practically Jesus walking on water and I was Peter, a gaping mouthed, gobsmacked witness of a miracle.
I thought, honestly, how was he not freezing? Did he not realize how disgusting the weather was? How could he be so content on a shit morning like this? Where was this asshole going that he could look so rough but so okay with it? Was he fully right in the head?
I couldn’t stop thinking about the man with an almost aggressive annoyance. Did he not feel it like I did? Every detail, every minute worry dropping on me with a ping, ping, ping. And every single one stung like being pelted by the pellets of a BB gun. But I was the victim and the shooter.
I wondered if I’d ever be like him. So nonchalant. So unfazed. I wondered if I’d ever be able to embrace the rain.

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