November 12, 2008
By jena Caputo, Staten Island, NY

Rain has an incredible way of making time stand still. The world falls silent to the patter of rain drops; people stay inside; traffic slows. Staring out my window the water blurs my vision and the drops ring loudly against the metal roof of the bus. All of my senses seem dulled, but my mind has never been so sharp. Its like being on the ledge behind a water fall, or being on the inside of a snow globe. Everything outside falling, trickling down, and I'm stuck behind, unable to move.

I glance around the bus; absorb my surroundings. I take a mental note of the worn blue seats, the drip of water through the fire escape, the dirt on the railing. I study the people around me; all three of them.

Rain has a remarkable way of keeping people inside.

There is an old man towards the front. His face has the wrinkled droopy appearance of a soul thats seen too much. His clothes are outdated, worn, and disheveled. His hands are tightly folded in his lap and his lips mouth stories too painful to speak out loud.

Down the way a child sits mimicking the tired old man. This little boy drops his face and folds his hands. This innocent child moves his lips; mouthing nursery rhymes to counter the old mans pain. This child, this blissful little cherub, his feet dangle off the edge of these filthy blue seats. His clothes are new, vibrant, and neatly tucked under a rain coat. His hair is combed; his cheeks pink. Looking at him, the old man blends into the background; a ghost.

Next to the boy, his mother tells him to leave the old man alone. Her face is tired. Not the tired that comes with old age, but the tired that comes from growing up too quickly. She is not much older than i am, but her eyes convey sadness. She has premature wrinkles and long dark hair. She stares blindly out the window at the deserted street.

Rain has an uncanny way of making you wonder.

The bus drives through a puddle and sends a curtain of water on the windows. The old mans head hangs further, the child claps and the woman blinks. As a sheet of water comes through the roof.

Outside the streets are empty, the store lights burn brightly, with no one inside them. I watch a young couple sharing an umbrella make their way down the street. They are holding hands and smiling at each other. The man says something and the woman pouts. I watch as the wind blows the umbrella up out of the man's hands. The man yells as the woman giggles. I look on as they stand there laughing in the pouring rain. I watch the man wrap his arms around his love; i watch them kiss. They kiss as if there is no one else in the world.

Rain has a romantic way of making you feel all alone.

The bus skids to a stop outside the gates of the hospital. I fall in line behind the tired old man, the innocent child and the regretful mother. Each of us is here for a reason, for a loved one. As I step off the bus, onto the street, the rain drops crash atop my head and roll down my face and neck. The mother puts her arm around the child's shoulders and guides him to the front door. The old man walks slowly, eyes on the floor. I walk through the grounds; i take the long way. I gaze in wonderment as the leaves spiral down. The deep golds, the vivid reds, a pool of color at my feet. These leaves were green once. These leaves were alive; now they-re withered and scattered.

Rain has a curious way of weighing life's decisions.

I walk through the automatic doors and into the sterile smell of rubbing alcohol and too much clorox. I squint my eyes against the hot white florescent lights and make my way through the maze of over-polished tiles. Through the walls the sound of screams, and sobs, laughter, and whispers drift into my ears. I make my way through halls avoiding contact in fear that I might read the pain in a strangers eyes; or that someone will read the pain in mine. I enter the room and she is still lying there; same position she was in last time I left; Not even a hair has been moved.

Rain has a morbid way or making time stand still.

The respirators hum and the monitors buzz. There are drips from the tubes, and clicks from the scanners. A woman run by machines. I look at her face and memorize the features. The thin eye lids, the wrinkles around her mouth, the freckles on her nose. I walk over to the outlet and unplug the machines. I take her hand as the room grows quiet. There is nothing but silence, no hum, no buzz, no click. In the quiet she looks serene, as perfect as I had ever seen her. A tear rolls down my cheek mirroring the drops on the window pane, as a baby screams down the hall.

Rain has a breath-taking way of allowing new beginnings.

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