First encountered 21 July 2000.
My mother held me in her cottony robed arms and stood at the balcony doorway. She said I couldn’t stop staring at the greying skies and the falling raindrops. I don’t remember this. I don’t remember the rain. I don’t remember her arms around me. It’s been too long to try and recall.
A little older and wiser. A few meetings with the rain later. It turned into a moody acquaintance. I enjoyed running out of the house at the first telling drops of water speckling the cement, and glossing the leaves. I’d let the drizzle coat my lashes and drip down my unblemished skin, sinking into my pores, like a sponge dying to take in the freefall from the heavens. I’d be called back in by the voice whose arms had held me to the rain years ago.
Age takes a toll. Life never was the same when we moved out of the country into the city. Rain here was an unwanted punishment from the gods above. Thunder roared and bounced between countless buildings propped up everywhere. Lighting struck, only to illuminate oceans of glass and metal. I’d open my window to stare out at the world that was now charcoal and chastised. But the rain didn’t care. Even if it had no life to nourish. Even if it only fell from miles away to be rebuffed by a hundred umbrellas and muttered curses. It fell and fell. And I watched it.
It caught me by surprise on my first day of college. It streaked through my hair and I secretly loved that I had forgotten my umbrella. The hot anxiety building up inside me seemed to roll off my skin in steaming waves. The rain fed me that day. Washed me clean of the voices that told me I wasn’t good enough. I can still see time stop, when everyone rushed around me in a hurried watercolor blur, sharing umbrellas, backpacks, and old notebooks. Anything to keep it away. I missed my mother that day. But I felt an ease of knowing, she wouldn’t call me back into the shade. I was drenched and grinning by the time I got to class.
Another day at the office. The sounds of keyboards clacking away hurriedly, lazily, pompously, meshed with the drops beating outside my window. I couldn’t tell the difference. I didn’t want to. I close my eyes and pretend I could just walk through the glass, float in the air, watching it fall around me. Leave everything behind. I turn back to my desk. A new email. I want to disappear.
An outdoor wedding seemed like a fantastic idea until I realized that the sky didn’t play favourites, even if I had been a faithful devotee for decades. One day where I didn’t want the rain. It didn’t come until midnight. When it did, I walked to the window of my new apartment, the hazy petrichor a break from the paint fumes. I stuck my hands out and felt a few fat drops hit it with a bloated surprise, as if they expected a longer journey and harsher landing than my worn palm. My hands looked like my mother’s. I should tell her it’s raining. She likes to know when it is. I think she misses me. I feel a sudden warmth behind me, and the familiar smell of his perfume wafts through my hair. For the first time, it is raining, and I’d rather be inside.
Last encountered 18 March 2086.
I look outside my small window. I ask the nurse to open it despite her usual protests of the water coming inside. I plead. Just this one last time I tell her, and she understands it is true. This will be my last. She pushes my bed closer to the window with her hips, an involuntary response after two years of the same request. I pick up the frames next to me with trembling hands. My mother smiles back, trapped in her youth. And my husband looks off into a sunset, just as I remember him. I still smell his perfume sometimes. I lay one hand by the window, and I place the pictures next to it. I feel a few drops gently kiss my papery skin. I see flecks in the pictures. They would have liked this. I like this. I close my eyes and my heavy breath is unheard for once, as the noise outside drowns it out. I am finally falling from the sky. I am touching the earth. I am giving way to a new life.
Meghna is currently in Bangalore, pursuing an English degree. She loves traveling, daydreaming and using writing as an outlet for her emotions. She would love to see someone relate to her work and leave an impression on them.