The rhythm of the drops hitting the pavement is as obvious a song to me as anything I would hear on the radio. The wind whistling through the rain and whispering through branches and whipping across my face is as melodious as my favorite song. There's something powerfully poignant about rain; dredging up memories of lost loves, creating desires to make memories with new loves.
***I stuck my tongue out, only to catch a few drops of disgustingly polluted rain.
"Oh, gross. Congratulations, you just tasted the grand ole filth of LA", he threw his gum wrapper at my head and ran past me.
"If I get to your car first, you're buying lunch", he flippantly tossed over his shoulder as he strode away on his impossibly long legs. Sighing, I ran after to catch up, only to land in a gigantic puddle, in my black Converse Chucks.
Even angrier now that my foot was sopping, I caught up "Jerk. Look at my freaking Chucks. I hate you", I punched him in the arm.
He bent down laughing to pick me up "No you don't. You love me".
With the rain smattering across our faces, he kissed me--
***We loved each other passionately and fought each other just as fiercely.
"Why won't you just tell me what's wrong so I can fix it?"
"If you don't know what it is, then I can't tell you what it is".
"That makes NO sense at all" I exhaled trying to keep my fury in check.
"Then maybe you need to fix that too".
"FIX WHAT??? Why can't you just be straightforward with me and TELL me what I did, so that I can prevent it from happening in the future?" At this point I didn't even realize that I was yelling into the phone.
"Forget it. If you don't know what it is, then we have nothing to talk about. I need to do homework. I'll call you later. Bye." his last word had all the bite and zing of a slap in the face.
I angrily slammed the phone down and took out my running shoes. As I was stomping out through the door, my mom warned me about the approaching rain. In my anger I ignored her and took off. As the state of indignation I was feeling wore off with every stride I began to wonder why it was that we had these fights that meant nothing to anyone but us. We said nothing-- just empty words, filled with anger and frustration, with the sole purpose of hurting each other. Yet, those empty, angry words meant everything to us-- because at the epicenter of the storm, there was the indestructible pillar of unconditional love; that no words, no insults could wear down.
When the rain started to fall, I felt the outrage and antagonism washing away with the rain. As soon as I got home, I called him.
"Hey. I know you said not to call, but I just wanted to remind you that I love you, okay?"
"I know. I love you too. I'm sorry."
"I know. Me too."
Standing in the kitchen, dripping water and the remnants of my ill humor, the chill that enveloped me felt like a warm embrace.
***"Let's dance" he hopped up from the couch and held his hand out to me.
"Right now?" I asked in disbelief.
"Sure? Why the hell not?"
"This, coming from the guy that refuses to take me to Homecoming?"
"Hey, this offer is going to expire real soon if you don't take me up on it". He pulled me up from the couch and headed for the front door.
"What the hell, where are you going?!"
"Let's dance outside, in the rain".
"Okay, seriously. Who the hell are you?" He grabbed my hand and headed for the door. "I'm not kidding! It's like, 60 degrees out there. Can I get my jacket? My shoes maybe?"
He just laughed and dragged me towards the door. As soon as he opened the door, I felt the gust of wind rush in and knock the breath out of me.
"OH MY GOD, I'm not kidding! It's RAINING. PLEASE, let me grab a jacket!"
"It's SPRINKLING. The lady doth protest too much, methinks".
Before I could spew out any more complaints (or tell him how impressed and taken aback I was at the Shakespeare reference) he pushed me out the door. We didn't really end up dancing. It was really more a lot of running around and away from each other, but the one slow dance we did have was beautifully cliche in it's perfection.
***I don't know how many times I picked up phone receiver and put it right back in the cradle in the ten minutes that had elapsed. The phone ringing in my lap startled me out of the inner debate raging inside of me.
"I GOT IT MOM!" I fumbled for the receiver, clinging to incredibly slim possibility that telepathically, I had gotten through to the one person I wanted to hear from the most.
My hello was breathless and weak from the anticipation.
"No, no, Mrs. Kim isn't here. No, I don't speak English. Yes, I can take a message".
Stupid telemarketers. As I hung up on the persistent saleslady mid sentence, I decided, that the only thing that I'd potentially be losing by making that phone call was my dignity.
"He's not home right now Jennifer, do you want me to tell him to call you back?" his mom sounded preoccupied and harried.
"No, it's fine. You don't even have to tell him I called", I laughed nervously.
She paused sensing the odd tremor in my voice,"Come visit me sometime Jennifer! I haven't seen you in a long time. I'll make your favorite noodle dish!".
My laughter belied my aching heart, oh how I wished, in that moment that I could see her again. But how could I tell her that I couldn't see her because her son didn't want to see me? After a lengthy goodbye I carefully placed the phone back in its cradle. I opened my front door and sat on my porch step; bare feet, shorts and a tank top in the middle of January.
Lost in my thoughts I didn't even realize that it wasn't my tears marking the pavement.
As I sat there, getting drenched from head to toe, I cried until the only thing running down my face was the rain.
***The rain and I? We have an understanding.
It's beautiful and melancholy, or maybe, it's just beautiful in it's melancholy.