The So Many Kinds of Rain

May 1, 2010
It didn’t matter in the least to the girl that the rain was all over her: in her hair, on her sweater, between her fingers and toes. She blasted through the door of her room, taking a soggy letter out of her pocket with shaking hands.
Lifting the soft paper to her eyes, she read it for the thousandth time.
A smile grew, an irrepressible smile that seemed to split her face in half, and she flopped onto the bed with a sigh, thinking about how there were so many different kinds of rain.
Like thunderstorms. She hated them. It was the surprise. She could get use to the incessant splattering of the rain, but the thunder- the thunder never failed to make her jump. The only way to survive, she thought, was to hide, to bury yourself under the covers with a flashlight and read a book and pretend like the comforter could shield the strikes from piercing straight through you. It was in a thunderstorm a few months ago that her tire had popped on the highway, spinning her towards death like an angry dance partner, into a crowd of speeding cars. She remembered being left helpless, freezing, and wet on the side of the road, with a busted tire and no knowledge of how to fix it. And how it was in this state that she realized her mother was in a meeting and her father was god knows where. How she called for help anyway, but the only answer was the thunder. Today, she was almost sure that there had been a quiet strike of thunder before she went to the mailbox to get the letter, but now she thought that had just been her imagination. She wished more than anything she could laugh at a thunderstorm. It wasn’t so easy.
But on the other hand there were sun-showers- those paradoxical sprinklings that smelled of summer days and childhood; that fell like happy tears at a wedding. She remembered her favorite one, during her 7th birthday party. She had been sitting in a wrought iron chair, the sun beating across her face, when the first drop had tickled her nose. It then splished on the floor, creating a tiny, grey, Dalmatian spot on the pavement. Then there was more splishing and the spots started multiplying. And she remembered how at that point it was “time for cake”, but each time her mom tried to light the candles small, glittering droplets landed perfectly on the equally small and glittering match flames. She remembers how they had all laughed and laughed as each flame fizzled out, and how her sister had noticed the rainbow and her father had said “who needs to wish on candles when you’ve got a rainbow.” But most of all she remembered how she held her breath as she looked at that hazy strip of iridescent colors, wishing, wishing, wishing it could be her birthday everyday.

But thinking back to the so many kinds of rain she thought that for every rare sun shower there was probably a flood- a biblical flood that swallowed everything, shook it around like mouthwash, and spit it back out in a dilapidated heap. Those floods that seemed reserved for the unreal universes of books, movies, and foreign countries. Her mind conjured up dozens of images. Before the flood: Main characters saying “ at least things can’t get any worse”, and dirty cities sitting peacefully. Her mom and dad laughing at her 7th birthday party. Then she saw the water come, erupting like a caged tiger set free from the clouds. And suddenly, the main character springs into action, the city cries out in peril, and the parents start yelling and yelling and yelling, until one gets in a car and drives away. That was the thing about floods- you never expected them; they were reserved for unreality until they gushed directly over you.

But the rain today was not a flood, or like any of the other kinds she had thought of. Of the so many different kinds of rain, nothing was more powerful, more beautiful, or more life changing, than the rain that fell today. Because underneath the rain today she got the letter.
And the letter said “I’m coming home.”

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