mostly true

It doesn’t rain trash in the city, but the alleyways wouldn’t know that. When the storms come through, our streets ocean and so many telltale smiling boxes sit drowned in the outpour.

I’ve been sick for days, and it has rained for days, and those statements are only probably true. All I know is that even when I feel better, I don’t, and even when it’s not raining, it’s wet.

This is the biggest raining season of Southern California every year. When I first met my husband, in the early days when he wasn’t yet my husband, we drove to a local mall in early January. The 4th, I think, but only Dave would know for certain.

He would always forget where he parked his car when he drove me somewhere. We had lost it in a Disneyland parking lot. We had lost it on a familiar street. But this day, like most days, we talked distractedly as we got out of the car, and talked distractedly as we walked away from the car, and we quickly forgot all about where it was.

We shopped and I bought a handful of small beads that I would later use to build him an atrocious little lopsided box made of duct tape. I built it from the memory of the future, and Dave said he would keep it till the day he died, and he did, and now it sits on my kitchen shelf.

So I guess I built myself an atrocious little lopsided box made of duct tape. And that day, in early January, with a boyfriend I would eventually marry, I bought the beads for it.

We walked out of the mall and the rain started pouring down. I’ve lived in rainy states before, but there’s something different about the Southern California downpours. In other states I’ve lived in, rain falls like a symphony playing to the audience that lives below. This area, then that area, then all together now, then louder, then quiet, and all together, trickle off the stage.

California rain feels more like water has taken an interpretative dance class. There is no audience, just places to peep the show, and depending on where you stand, and which dancer you are closest to, that is the show you get.

Outside the mall that day, the dancer we got spun in wide wet circles. The first splash hit us as if a car was driving through puddles too fast, except… 5 feet off the ground. We were pelted, soaked through in a few seconds, and it didn’t seem worth it to go back inside, so we ran down the rows of parked cars, holding hands, searching.

I could run then. I could hold his hand then.

But I could not for the life of me tell you anything about his car except that it was kinda green. I was not any help at all, and I kept getting distracted by all the trash that shows up when it rains, but eventually Dave found it and we climbed in.

I counted the little beads in my hand to make sure they were all there, as if I’d brave the rain and a Southern California mall parking lot, to find a lost one. We sat back in silence for a full minute and then burst into laughter.

And then the rain, having finished its ten minutes of pirouettes and jumpscares, just stopped. Completely. The sun came out and kissed the palm trees hello again.

When I walked up to my apartment, ten minutes later, in 80 degree weather, with the sun beaming bright, I was still soaked all the way through.

Later that night someone on the news said it rained all day, and that’s true enough. It started as often as it stopped, at least.

Today I held the box in my hand. Inside is a little note I wrote that says “I love you”, and now we know, because we live in the future, that the note was always for me, too. None of that is not true.

Today, I watch the rain. This time, my dancer taps and does not spin, but somewhere in Southern California, someone is being slapped by stormy splash and laughing about it.

Sometimes I think I remember that rainy day more than any other of our years together.

And that’s just one more thing that’s probably only mostly true.

24 thoughts on “mostly true

  1. This piece moved my heart. I adore the way you describe the rain. It seems unique to the area you live in but it reminds me of what it feels like when it rains here in the UK in the summer. But here it feels icy, like’s out to get you.. almost malicious, whereas the rain you describe (dancers, I sigh!) seems more pure and innocent. It just does the thing it likes to do! But this piece was beautiful. The way I see it (it is not my life, I know, so I am sorry if this comes across rude. I truly don’t mean it to).. the way I see it is that you made the box for your then boyfriend-soon-to-be-husband and just because he left it behind, does not mean it does not still belong to him. Because it belongs to him, you kept it, like it’s a piece of him. So it’s like you made it for him for you for him… for you. Im sorry if this does not come across how I mean it to – with warmth and love. I just loved the sentiments in this so much. The life, the love, the feeling!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I hope that you soon start to feel consistently well again, Ra❤️

    This was a lovely read. There’s something relatable about the amusement of finding yourself at the mercy of the rain and having no choice but to surrender and savour it. Even better when the experience is shared.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Take it from a person who knows, cherish ALL the memories. I proposed to my wife in a crowded Dallas mall on New Year’s Eve, and remember none of it, thanks to years of doctors playing pharmaceutical roulette. Keep the memories, even the sad ones. as fresh as you can.

    As a side note, I didn’t experience much of California rain. I do remember Florida rain, a freight train that comes on a precise schedule, drowns out all activity, then vanishes into nothing, leaving only a few puddles to remind you it will be back tomorrow, at the exact same time. I always loved Chicago rain – it is truly a shower, washing away the grime of city buses and trains, cleansing the sidewalks of leftover salt and muck, and always leaving things smelling fresh and green – for a few minutes, anyway. NYC rain always struck me as 1980’s Manhattan did – grey, in temperature, ferocity, even effect. Then again, I’ve always been, and will always be, a Windy City boy, regardless of where I’m sitting at any given moment.

    And I LOVE that box. It just seems so … right, despite – or because of – it’s lopsided, cock-eyed form. I wonder if we have any beads laying around ….. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I picked up my phone at 5:30 a.m. Eastern to read this beautiful piece and when I got to the end, the picture of the box seen through sleep-deprived eyes with no glasses and the screen too far away because the phone died in the night and had to be charged, looked like two people huddled under a gray raincoat beneath a ridiculously inadequate umbrella. Their beaded feet beat the ground in unison.

    The only place I ever lived with a rainy season was Hawaii. Hawaii’s rainy season rain fell in clumps like drips from a child’s melting ice cream cone. It did not so much soak you through as it stuck to you, heavy and wet. The off-season rain we called liquid sunshine because its invisible softness soothed the skin like cool rays pouring out of the ever-present warmth, leaving behind traces of love where there ought to have been moisture.

    The way you miss Dave is inspiration. 💓

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I just got back from California, north not south, and I love this line

    ‘It doesn’t rain trash in the city, but the alleyways wouldn’t know that,”

    Although was better than Frisco, I couldn’t believe how trashed some places were.

    Liked by 1 person


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