After rain: the perpetual anticipation of the next rain.
Some time has passed since the last time I sat down to think of this irreducible experience, that is, when I see the horizon line burning, that sunset in my rear view mirror, the glimpse of any fire or summoned disintegration of sadness, to tears, to tension, to death’s face, to this again, when this paralysis of entombing emotions happens, I think of you.
The orange-red-pink sky is burning down.
It is almost nighttime.
I am waiting, for you.
There are the little moments. That is, even if the world weren’t so gruesome, it would be those little moments that would carry us through, phantom whispers of joy in joyless times. I see the horizon line burning. I think of you.
The moon is behind the clouds. White fluffy ones that veil and encourage the moon’s shimmer. Like that pixelated glare behind the curtain when you wake in the morning to, well, wake. That is all one can do sometimes. Simply: to wake.
After rain: the blue that is left over, that lingers, that breathes anew.
After rain: the sky in the rear view mirror, the little moments, “Stairway to Heaven” playing on the radio, the crescendo, the birds, and why.
After rain: the so-much that is blue, so far, so unreachable, so present, its flickering noticed only via distance.
After rain: the crisp air that taints my lungs with blue, that lies beneath, that immovable, impassive sheet.
After rain: you, alone, you, here.
After rain: the impenetrable sadness of all this.
That is, I’m driving in the car, singing to Nashville’s “Nothing in the World Will Ever Break My Heart Again,” and I’m crying though I’m not sure why, and somehow it seems that all of the sadness of my entire existence, all of the sadness of the phantom individuals that have dipped in and out of my life, all of the sadness of my mother, the sky, the world, it has all caught up to me in this moment and the harder I cry, the more I can’t stop singing, and the harder I sing, the more I can’t breathe and the density of the tears that fall. Because somehow in this moment, I have managed to condense the entire world’s heartbreak into my own, and I can still remember your voice when you said those things that I already forgave you for, and when I look up I see the rows of birds perched up on the wires and the tears come more quickly, happily, urgently, willingly.
Why is the company of birds such a reassurance?
Why under the scattered light of this vast and beautiful and miserable city, why the birds, sitting, bring forth that naked smile that only the birds can bring?
Once, I stared into death’s face but he didn’t return the stare.
Once, I lay my head on a stone but the shadow above me was too heavy to support and I had to give in to the weight of it.
Once, I summoned the ghost of my mother but was too ashamed to look her in the eye and left her there standing, expectantly.
Once, I remembered that I loved you and wanted to try harder, that I was willing and desiring to reconcile my deepest flaws and failures and insistences for you. That I wanted to be with you, that I didn’t want it to be easy, that I wanted it to be whatever it would be, with you.
Once, I could have walked away but I didn’t.
After rain, we already know that it all looks different. This city, you, me. Rain changes everything and we only know to keep deferring moments until the next time it rains. When it rains, the people in this city seem to be in perpetual deferment. The clouds that move as the rain refuses to abate, the rain lasts for as long as it lasts and no longer, and during the rain, it either feels like a single, glistening moment or like a deeply black eternity. I wonder how wet I can get before I am filled to the brim. Because of the weather, plans change and so do my eyes. I can’t tell colors and it’s raining all over the place and I just want to sit down in a puddle and soak.
After rain, no matter how torrentious it might have been, we wonder where did it go: the rain. How could it leave us so quickly? The air is thick. No. It isn’t. It’s rather thin now. And all the bodies that accumulated inside of houses, under rooftops, slowly stumble out and blink and stutter. After rain, we stutter.
No. After rain, we wait.