rain.

It is a quiet rain. 

Rain that stops and starts in between glances.
Rain that allows so much sun to shine through I think this must be how a mirage begins

and ends.

—–

One night we danced, the rain falling. Dishes in the sink, it didn’t matter. He took my hand and quickly we were outside, he pulled me in, closer. Easily he made me laugh, as drops landed, all around, the rain a sweet percussion to the melody he hummed in my ear. Water streaming our faces, I spoke softly—

“Don’t leave me.” 

“I know how to love you,” he said immediately, “please let me.”

Inside again, the linoleum gleamed under the fluorescent light, our faces flush, our future here somewhere. We turned in tandem to the sink, my washing, his drying, our task made easier by the togetherness of the moment. 

—–

I peered past the accordion style doors of my not walk-in closet to see him intently messing with the alarm clock, when from it burst a rhythm that instantly made me want to hear every note, every lyric, breathe in every beat of this unexpected music.

He was immediately in front of me. Feet close to mine. I pushed my toes under his. What a feeling this was. 

Try it sometime. It throws you just off balance just enough—you have no choice but to lean in, hold on. 

I leaned in. 
I held on. 
I felt his steady heartbeat pick up just slightly and his hands on the part of my arm just above my elbow and we moved together, to each other, to this new rhythm, to this song we’re hearing this time, for the first time, and I felt a small part of my hurt, my pain, my sorrow….I felt just the tiniest part of it heal, regrow, as if it were part garden lizard that had just lost its tail, and the tail knew, but not the lizard, not only that it could grow back, it would.
 
We danced there, between the closet doors, as the song thankfully repeated itself. 

When I looked up to his eyes, there was a softness. I could sense his fear, afraid I might grow tired of this closeness. I leaned back just enough to throw us both off balance causing him to stumble forward and knock us both against the wall. I wiggled quickly away and ran to hide in the close kitchen, hopeful he would be soon behind. When his footsteps didn’t appear I peered cautiously around the corner only to shriek at his immediate and intentional silly-scare.

I pushed him playfully and once again I was in his arms. We returned to our dance and my tears came gently, staining the light blue of his shirt, small shields of a happiness never expected. 

—–

In those early mornings he would wake me with kisses on my head, soft whispers of “good morning beautiful” and “I love you so much.” Now, years later, these moments are also prayers, sweet verses memorized from a lifetime before, soft remembrances bookended with an embrace that pulls us back and propels us toward another five minutes safe from the world and its worldliness. 

It hasn’t always been this way. 
I could say a lot about the way it was before, but 
I wonder what good it would actually do. 
But it’s true, 
it hasn’t always been this way. 

I remember one time he proposed to me on a 3×5 card. 
Once in a voicemail message I didn’t listen to until three weeks later. 
Again after an episode of The Office.  
And that time when we were just staring at each other a little too long. 

I said of course,
no. 

And I said no because…
it hasn’t always been this way. 

And when one is accustomed to things being not the way they are now, one is certain things are destined to be once again in just a different state of not being the way they are now, even if the new way is a different version of the old way.  

It makes sense. 
It does. 

Somewhere between the orchard and the ocean everything changed. 

I found myself carefully organizing his lunch box so he would see the small heart I drew on the lid to his salad bowl.  I bought the chocolate he liked and I didn’t eat it all when he wasn’t around. I stopped watching the next episode of our favorite show until we were together. I learned how to bake zucchini bread so he would have something additional to smother his butter on. I pretended not to notice when he used too much butter. I learned how to back into a parking space because he told me it was safer. I watched every Star Wars movie just to learn the references and then casually use them in our conversations. I tried to be a morning person. I cleaned coffee grounds from the french press without making a big deal about it. I bought the gum he liked from Amazon after not finding it in all the stores around town. I read the book he suggested. I let him teach me how to make eggs when I thought I already knew.

I started telling him things that mattered.

I told him how my heart seemed to never stop hurting
in the very small parts you were never supposed to ever feel. 
I told him that maybe I could never be free to love again. 
I told him I didn’t think we could ever be free of all our everything. 
And he 
he just
he was 
just. 

He stayed. He kissed my forehead. 
He told me I would be free to love again
and he wanted to be here when I could.

And he was right
because it did happen
and that night, when most were running from the rain that fell all around, 
we stood still 
and enjoyed the reminder of our dedication to something greater than ourselves
and I knew that he knew that I knew tonight he would ask me his question again. 

—–

It is a quiet rain. 

A rain that stops and starts in between lifetimes and
decisions and possibilities and wishes of maybe a time 
when there would be no rain. 
But that would be silly,
to have no rain.  

It’s the rain that brought us here.
The rain giving us life. 
The rain on our side. 
The rain making 
everything 
new. 
Over
and over 
and over 
again.

non-pond.

Mostly I feel like running. I would run for days if I could. To feel the pressure of each breath, to feel that hard place in my chest beating incessantly in a way that was controlled only by the beating of each hard step, foot to pavement, and then again, and then again. Until I couldn’t any more.

Mostly I feel like running. I would run out to this pond I found once, only it reminded me of no pond I had seen before, it was really a lake with the potential to be an ocean, but the sign said it was a pond, so pond it remained, even though, if I had been consulted, I would have asked the non-pond pond if in fact it was a pond or if it felt more like a lake with dreams of becoming the ocean, or perhaps it felt like it was an ocean in hopes of being a pond, or even further, perhaps it actually felt it was a desert, despite the so obvious moisture that filled its crevices, obvious of course to those only with the benefit of seeing this non-pond from the outside, a luxury this non-pond, lake, potential ocean, possible desert never had nor could dream of ever being able to create.

I would run to this difficult to name place. Once there I would strip of myself and dive immediately deep, amongst the algae and the water plants that would have, in any other world, kept me on the shore, constricted and contained, I would brush past these plants to hit the muddy bottom of this place, pushing my hands deep within and hoping, expecting, wanting and needing to feel the earth in its nascent state, to the possible places where life begins, where life began, until that incessant beating in my chest returned, reminding me, calling me, pushing me to either go further in this task or return once again to find temporary relief in the uncertainty of all that remains above.

Mostly I feel like running. Only then can this pressure, this intensity of understanding, confusion, doubt, and truth, only then can the pressure of these items be relieved and replaced by the limitations of physical ability and desire to replace burden with burden, building of course until something has to give.

Once, while I was busy enjoying my non-pond pond a stranger appeared and asked rather innocently if I was enjoying this beautiful gulf.

I looked out as though I was seeing it for the first time.

Eventually I said yes, it is a rather amazing gulf, and I have been enjoying it quite nicely, thank you. Becoming aware that my pond, my non-pond, lake, almost ocean yet desert had been none of these things. It was a gulf. And yet it wasn’t. It was this stranger’s gulf. It was still my pond/non-pond/lake/hopeful ocean/almost desert place that I just easily gave away to also being a gulf.

That is about the amount of truth I hold.

That is about the amount of truth we all hold. If we are looking out, and there is a clear sign that says what we’re seeing is a pond, and I see a lake and you see a gulf, we both get to see our lake and our gulf. My insistence on the existence of a lake doesn’t detract or deny you of your gulf. Sometimes, in a potential universe that I hope may someday exist outside my mind, I believe in a small intersection where your seeing of a gulf and my seeing of a lake brings us both to a realization that we are instead looking at the headwaters of something grander than each of us was able to see on our own. That the existence of your truth and my truth can complement not conflict, and allow for new truths, new paths, strangers no more, allied and capable of slowing the ever charged ever energized never ending desire for running, possibly finding a moment sheathed in a time within a time where for, just a moment, the sweat tears are wiped away, and the sun, a sun that has overwhelmed me in its intensity, exists instead to provide an internal warmth and comfort. If even for just a moment.

If for just a moment I could give up the expectation that for this enormously orchestrated event to occur you must even see my lake. Should you never see my lake, and I never see your gulf, we could still get to that moment, lying in the sun, basking in a realness that can only exist when you’ve relieved yourself of the burdens of carrying your own truths, exchanged for the truths of a stranger, exchanged again for the truth of a place that doesn’t even really exist nor can be drawn on a map to be returned to again and again.

Again and again I am in pursuit of a moment, one instance of solace, a moment that will require years of work, effort, steps, timing, and all the acts of dispensing and replacing the truths that have been told in a way that honors even the un-truth truths and doesn’t allow the darkness held within these un-truths to merge with my identity, my soul, my being. And yet, my desire to separate truth from un-truth is a naiveté that must also be confronted and exchanged. Still, the potential for discovery of this moment is worth the effort involved, to uncover even a glimpse of a small space in this universe where there exists a sign that says pond but is your gulf and my non-pond/lake/potential ocean/possible desert, and we are strangers no more, running no more.