For The Rain

on November 17, 2009 in Fantasy

It was raining when I met her, just outside the cathedral doors.

I’d gone for the annual flower show, though it wasn’t the flowers that interested me so much as the arrangements they formed with the stone and colored glass and light around them. Really, the flowers were the smallest part of it… an accent, like a boutonnière on the lapel of the old church.

It was raining that day, though, and the light that streamed in through the stained glass was meager and cold and gray. I didn’t stay long. I’ve never been one to handle disappointment well.

When I stepped outside, she was standing there on the stone steps, her face tilted up to the sky. Her skin was dark and beaded with water. Her hair was thick and lively. She had the most beatific smile I’d seen in a long time, and considering where I’d just come from that was saying something.

There are almost certainly far more than two kinds of persons in the world, but if one of those kinds were “people who go to church flower shows by themselves to quietly admire the intersection of architecture and art”, that group would almost certainly be nearly mutually exclusive with “people who say hello to pretty strangers”.

I said hello to her. She tilted her face forward and opened her eyes, blinking like she was waking up from a sleep, and said hello back.

“Here for the flowers?” I asked her.

“No,” she said. “I’m here for the rain.”

“Would you like to get coffee or something?”

“I hate coffee,” she told me. “But I’d love something.”

So we went to a little open air cafe, where we had crème brulée and she drank old-fashioned root beer from an old-fashioned glass bottle while I, feeling too much an adult for such a thing, pretended to enjoy my coffee. There were no other patrons on the patio, as a fine mist was still falling. We talked. I said more to her than I say in a week’s worth of conversations to my coworkers, even the ones I consider my friends. It was amazing. Even more amazing, she seemed to enjoy it.

The sky was still low and gray when we finished, but it was only intermittently spitting. I asked her if she might like to visit a museum, or go see the botanical gardens, or even go to a movie. She declined each suggestion, a little sadly.

“Would you like to do anything?” I asked her, trying not to sound desperate.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I told you. I’m only here for the rain.”

One last drop landed on her forehead as she said that. She held out her hands, palm up, as if checking for more. She smiled.

“Thank you,” she said. “Goodbye.”

And then, just like that, she was gone.

I started taking walks in the rain more often after that. At first I was hoping to see her again. Eventually I realized that I wouldn’t. I didn’t stop, though. I’d come to love the rain for itself. I also started taking more chances, saying hello to strangers.

I still can’t quite bring myself to go to a cafe on a Sunday morning, order root beer and then drink it straight from the bottle.

I’m working on that.

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3 Responses to “For The Rain”

  1. Karin says:

    This is absolutely beautiful. I think this may be my favourite of your flash fiction.

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  3. Chris C. says:

    One of my favorites as well. So nice that you’re doing these :)

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