Last night, as the evening storm approached, I walked out to the dumpster, the day’s trash in hand, waiting to be Dorothied to Oz. The back alley at work smells strongly of rotten milk and whatever industrial cleaner they use to cover it up. For quite some time, it caused me to think I had lost my sense of smell, no longer able to tell the difference between freshly clean or freshly putrid. The truth is, I have been praying for rain for a month. While I’ve slept through a few storms in the last few weeks, seen a few signs of lighting in the distance, I have yet to see a full blown storm with my own eyes. And until I smell the damp air, feel the rain on my skin, see the navy colored skies swirling around me, I can’t quite believe it’s actually spring. And now it’s started to pour.
As I make a mad dash to my old red truck, my shoes filling more with water with each step, I can’t help but giggle inside. I pull myself up into the cab, unable to jump in for lack of mobility in my yellow pencil skirt, kicking off my soggy red flats to let my feet dry. As I pull out of the parking lot, I crack my windows enough to let in the cooler air while only letting in a few drops of rain every now and then. I pull my hair, now damp and clinging to my skin, into a loose bun. I turn up the radio to the local blues station, taking in the gray hazy sun and cars and sounds of tires on water. Even seeing the new cars with air conditioning, windows up, perfect paint jobs, interiors untouched by the falling rain, I can’t help but remember that life is nothing if not felt; From the heat and humidity of the day to the drops of rain on my cheek to the sound of old blues music, which comes from nowhere if not straight from the heart.
I pull into a space across the street from our little red door, walking confidently through the now slowing rain, keys in hand, thunder all around me for miles. I notice our old man neighbor sitting in his car, give a nod and half smile in his direction, and unlock the door. Twenty minutes later, in the same soggy shoes, we leave for a date night dinner. Old man neighbor walks in the red door, gives us a quick hello and a, “It stopped raining, it’s safe to go outside now.” I pause briefly, though only in my head, struggling not to pause in the physical, and secretly hope he didn’t mean to use the word safe. I quickly wonder if he might possibly be a witch, the melting kind of witch, though all my knowledge of sorcery from the children’s books tells me he would have to be a warlock. And with that, my mind is on to dinner.
It’s hard to find a restaurant that will open its patio for dining when there is lighting in the area, but all the storm lovers know that this is the best time to be outside, the scent of the storm lingering, the clouds parting just in time to display the sunset, the pink sky in all her glory. We were seated at a yellow table, sound of dripping gutters and damp streets in the background. In the distance I see a man smoking a cigarette on his front porch. I observe him, wondering what he sees from that porch, what his house and heart are like on the inside. What a strange way for us to meet in this life, me and this man. To me, he is just the man on the porch.
And to him, I am just the girl in the yellow skirt. If I am anything at all.