Our July in the Rain

One song is all it takes -One picture is all it takes- and suddenly I’m not tied to the time-constraints of Earth anymore.

Cmon’ -You know what I’m talking about. Everyone has that one song you can listen to over and over on repeat and every single time it takes you back to That night –That One Night you can’t ever forget no matter how hard you try. You know. I bet you can even start singing the lyrics to me right now if I asked you. That’s how our brains work, somehow even the most foggy memories can be brought back from one musical melody after another.
My song is Our July Rain by He Is We. It just sums everything up. Put beside my picture, and suddenly I’m very melancholy because it seems so real just hearing those words and looking at his face dripping wet.
Every time I hear that song I want to take my imaginary remote that Adam Sandler gave me, I want to point it straight to my picture I keep tucked away behind my pillow, and I want to press Rewind while I teleport to that Fourth of July.


I know it sounds silly to admit this, but even after all the time that’s passed, the funny thing is, I still have the picture.

It’s a little lop-sided because it was taken in a hurry, but the whole gist of how happy he looks is caught in the mess of the foggy film. His hair is stuck to his head, splitting his forehead with spiky wet blonde needles, dripping into his eyes that were reflecting the flash of the camera and the effervescent orange glow of the street light –foggy from all the rain. His hands were in his pockets and his eyes were smirking like a kid going wild in a candy store after knowing he shouldn’t be there. Out of breathe, hood on his head, dripping wet, and yet he was still as beautiful as ever. The moment will last forever tucked away in my brain along with that picture, now pretty worn by pulling it out from me behind my pillow numerous times (shamefully) and trying to recreate the whole night –that whole fourth of July- again and again.

It’s as if…I stare hard enough and close my eyes maybe my dreams will recreate it..and make it real..for a little while…and if I can wake up after dreaming it maybe the dream will come true..and it can become real again. It’s a domino effect you know? If you wish for something and stare at it so much maybe it will jump off the page and you can slide into the picture like a Mary Poppins chalk scene complete with singing and dancing –the works.
The picture was printed off from one of those walmart kiosks that take the old disposable cameras. I say “old” because even though I grew up with all those shots of hands and heads cut off, digital cameras are usually what most kids use these days. Sadly, the only thing I had that day was the old one which could withstand the rain.
The night was magical.
Honestly.
Every time I look at the picture it connotates freedom. The pure essence of being an adolescent –young and in love- during a warm summer night with a harsh summer rain is caught simmering over the edges of the photograph.
The night started out awful. Fourth of July began to drift away while my boyfriend and I sat at his house waiting to make plans with everyone. We went to the coffee shop for a little while and then did the mundane lunch thing. With the burn ban around the county fireworks were sparse and any patriotic or holiday feelings were dashed from the simple fact nobody was doing anything at all for the Fourth. We didn’t even have ice cream or peach cobbler. By the time we ended up finding something solid to do –sardines in the park- it started raining. Can you believe that?
After months of being too dry to even purchase mini-sparkly-bombs, it starts raining? Yes. The day of Fourth of July actually quenched the Earth’s thirst for rain..much too ironic in my opinion to be anything other than a walking example of pure irony.
To make the best of what we had been wrongfully dealt with, our friends ended up all going to the park even though the rain started picking up. By the time we got there the sweet drizzle that at first singled disappointment finally started to shed light on our evening. Mud. Splashing in puddles. Oodles of laughing. Laying the shadows. With perfect clarity the night comes back every time I even think of it.
Between running barefoot through the trees and yelling like a wild woman, we all felt something magical about the whole idea that on our perfectly cliché Fourth of July, we were actually out gallivanting through the park at midnight. Leaves sloshed through our shoes and by the time we were all squeezing into spots in the shadows we had all discarded numerous items of clothing like sweatshirts and shoes. Rules of the game were simple: opposite of hide-and-go-seek. One person goes and hides and the whole group goes off to try to find him or her. The catch is, you don’t want anyone else to see you find them. The whole point is to ostracize the last person by having them aimlessly walk around searching for the whole group of friends huddling together in a small area packed like Sardines. If you can imagine this scene yet, add drifting light from the orange street lamp, multiply the trippy haze by 20 with the rain, and divide that by the sloshing puddles and eerie shadows which surrounded the whole scene and you get a perfect concoction of pure joy.
After stealing multiple kisses and piggy back rides through the rain we were sliding down the slides that catapulted you onto the playground’s ground because of how slick the rain made them. We skinned our knees as if 10 years dripped off our body with every rain drop. We were kids again. No thoughts on our mind but how fast we could run and how hard we could fall over those broken branches. Free. Fun. Dangerous. It all moved in a blurr like the shadows of the trees changing with all the images of the rain.
Between all the laughter and running through the park like the wild teenagers we all wanted to be for one night, somehow at every glance at him I just fell harder and harder. He swooped me up and swung me around and we were all somehow caught up in just how amazing we felt.
When we all finally decided to take a break and stow away in the gazebo to dry off, our friends lit up a couple smokes and a couple of us started stomping Another Brick in the Wall on top of the picnic tables. To escape the smoke which neither him nor I liked, we went off to slide on the playground one last time for the night. Suspiciously of course we escaped the group by ourselves. “Alone. Oooooooo!”
That’s when I snapped the picture.
It was the moment right after he was turning toward me at the bottom of the slide and nearly tripping at the bottom. The excitement and confusion were still evident on his face just as his smirk forever found on his lips in that moment. We were both laughing and right as he turned toward me, still under the safety of the gazebo’s roof, I pulled out that “old” disposable camera and caught that shining moment in time –never to be forgotten. I will always try my best to remember, to never forget. Even if the feelings fade (which they did mind you) and even if my foggy brain becomes cracked from too much caffeine and too little sleep, with the help of one glance that perfect picture brings it all zooming back to life. Between being so in love on that July night, dancing through the rain, and smelling the wisps of smoke coming from the gazebo, it all fits so nicely into my mind along with all the lock-and-key memories of childhood I will (cliché-ly) always treasure forever.
In the end, the day we would have loved to use fireworks most, was the day the burn band was broken by the rain. The whole irony in the fact we never even lit a single spark is probably the most compelling aspect of that Fourth of July, because somehow it was still on fire. Blazing through the night without bottle rockets, instead childhood games, it ended up being a time none of us will ever forget.
That’s why for one moment, lying in bed usually, I end up wishing I could pull us both back to that night where we held hands in the rain soaking wet and both smiling over the fact we were exploding like fireworks ourselves with how perfect and “right” it all felt. For one second, I knew we were both happy. I could see the look in his eyes when he looked at me like that in that rain. It was a look that couldn’t hide how happy he was he had some crazy girlfriend who wanted to go run through the rain in the park. That one picture sums it all up. That one second in time was caught forever in the picture, one that can’t be overlooked because it continually serves as evidence we were happy. I made him happy. At one point, it was all perfect. At one point everything we ever wanted was right there on that summer night. At one point, the kind of guy I fell in love with wanted to slide through the mud and kiss me in the rain barefoot. At that one second, nothing could have been more real.
Every time I even glance at it, I can be taken back in time, for one moment.
People change. Memories fade. But with the help of music and photographs, memories are recreated a little easier. Not even rain or time can wash the most impactful ones away.





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