Some streetlight in the distance bounced around on the glazed blacktop, as the rain continued to fall. Nights like this never ended, and all anyone had ever known, it seemed, was the rain. It was our only constant. The day’s warmth rose like a fog that no longer belonged to the earth, as it commit its spirit into the heavens, and if any footsteps pondered these streets, they would not be heard above the pitter-patter of the quiet-but-constant droplets that gave new life to a would-be dead world. On nights as this, love can soak into your skin. Though too much rain, and the floods were guaranteed to wash it all away.
I stood blankly as the sky’s tears trickled down my face. My nine year old hands gripped Teddy tightly, and with every squeeze, he – more soaked than I, it seemed – sloshed in my trembling hands and seemed to wet himself uncontrollably. I suppose Teddy didn’t handle being alone as well as I. I could handle a little rain for now. I had to be strong for Teddy, after all.
…but the rain fell harder and blurred the passing time.
As much as I wanted to be, I wasn’t that nine year old kid anymore. There was no plush bear in the grip of my hands – only the water that slid down my arm directly to the palm that would have happily held anything equally eager for companionship in its grip for comfort. No, no nine year old here anymore. At least, not at first glance. Deep down, perhaps, that boy lingered on, staring blankly, a little kid scared out of his mind for a future as ambiguous as whatever stood just beyond the mist rising from the penumbra of the streetlight.
I tensed my lips, furrowing my brow, desperately trying to make out the figure in the distance, uncertain of whether or not it even existed or if my eyes merely tricked me. I broke through the rain, approaching the streetlight, and a voice, as sweet as sirens, tore through every drop, as though it were merely soft snow and soundless. She…she teased me in the midst and moved within the dark, as the voice surrounded me, penetrating my very being, and I felt dizzy through-and-through. My mind drifted again to Teddy and back to things more grown-up – books and libraries and the lonely, arduous toil of the selfish life devoted to those things we’d been told for far too long mattered most. All the world had sent us mixed signals; the ugly struggle between dream and reality, love and work, family and providing for it kept me from inching any closer, and I stood within the puddle on which the lights above now danced. They, too, teased me, along with her, though I stood resolute and recalled the hope I once found in the grip of a little bear who, though soaked and scared as I, refused to let go, as I, too, had held tightly in faith.
I inhaled the night’s wet air deeply – one satisfying and determined gulp, and furrowing my brow again, I reached my arm out into the shadows in search for the voice that lived within my soul. She sang louder, as if in shock that I might – so bravely – trudge through this dark and cold. I caught her words, the lovely Song of Songs, “Many waters cannot quench love; neither can the floods drown it.” More determined than ever, I called to her and disappeared into the thick darkness, and then it happened. Fingers clashed between my own, as though they had always been there – two hands composed of arms that held each other closely and at length. Perhaps, for the first time, it had really happened. She, too, had stood in some darkness, viewing the same streetlight from its opposite angle. I pulled her into view and saw a face I had always known and always needed, and the one thing we’d been told would never happen suddenly halted our entire world.
It stopped raining.
Immediately, we began to know a new world, a world without puddles and the constant flow of some torrential downfall. We nevertheless remained drenched.
After all, on nights as this, they say love can soak into your skin.