Illustrated by Emily Duff
I love the rain. The pungent smell of muddied soil, the aureate luminance of street lights along desolate alleys, the dampening of every other sound in the world. I find true solace in how deafening it all is. It comes slowly, gingerly, then all at once, engulfing everything in its wake. All-powerful, all-knowing. It creeps beneath the old floorboards, trickles in through the barred windows, collects in the moldy crevices of the ceiling, ornamenting these barren walls with faint, dispersed spots. It makes its presence known. There is not a place it has not patronized, not a soul it has not touched. It cleanses. The scent of chloroform now long-chased from the surroundings of this abode, the imprints of those here once no longer blemishing the cedar panels, the lavender railings, the humble door with the welcome sign perched above it.
I watch the rain waltz in these wee hours of the day, a dainty counterpart to the menacing wind, its grasp tight, its sharp movements a stark contrast to this lithe partner. And yet, the rain still exudes grace. It is timeless, really. So, to further inspire it, I put on music. The good, mood-making, romantic type of music. I hum along, the velvet melody slowly encompassing my being and seducing my movements. I loosen up, transcend the reality of my life, until I, myself, am the personification of a fluid. I unravel. Grandiose arm gestures beckon to my hips to follow suit, and before I know it, my entire body is immersed in an exquisite dance. But it takes two.
Pleasure. I know pleasure, and she is indeed a woman. She has short brown hair; the edges jaggedly cut, eyes of charcoal and detachment, and she smells faintly of cheap cologne. She too loves the rain. In the late nights, she perches on the dimly lit corners, waiting beneath the rain. An owl, she prowls, she narrows in on her prey. She is conscious of these midnight-softened surroundings all at once, and her speech is ironically reminiscent of my mother’s.
Oh, how she transports me. I am overwhelmed with memories that come pouring back, that inundate me fully within the confines of this weathered car. Lavender memories of how my mother would proudly broadcast that I was the love of her life, despite all the men that endeavored to contend with me.
“You are a special man,” she would tell me. “No matter what, no one can steal this bond from us.”
Perhaps this is why I am drawn to her, this maiden of the night, as I was to others in the past. But the new ones are always, undoubtedly, more special than the last. She pulls me near, her otherwise bleak eyes now brimful with thirst; a coquettish grin adorning her adolescent face. A master at the art of temptation, she entrances me with whispered prophecies. Funny how they always know exactly what to say. Whimsical really, but the rain makes this all so sensual. God, how I love the rain.
We drive, time melting away like hot wax on a candle-lit date. Her eyes trained incessantly towards the side window, she now refuses to look me in the eye as familiar shivers overtake her petite frame. She clutches her small handbag against her chest, as if to soothe her growing worry; her sharp talons unforgiving against its buttery surface. So we bathe in silence. The good kind of silence, the kind that fills with drips and drops, with a gentle pitter-patter made insignificant by the swaying of wipers on glass. This car, although itself-despondent, consoles the world, wiping away the tears that become increasingly hysterical as we approach our final destination. But this girl and I, we are one and the same; forgotten creatures of the night. Her pearlescent skin still retains the pristineness of a first love; she must not be older than I was the first time.
A naïve boy, I longed for a love that was always just out of reach. What I would’ve given for a mere taste of what they had; what I wouldn’t have done to obtain it. That is why I am no stranger to the shadowy corners, to the narrow side streets littered by syringes, broken glass and despair. To the lonesome cries, the ripped fishnet, the unquenchable lust for companionship. My mother begged that day, she pleaded, she implored. But a woman with multiple lovers cannot love a single son, and I knew that what she vocalized was nothing but nothingness. Someone like that is better off not loving at all.
This is why I truly, deeply love the rain. It can be utilized, above all else, as a muzzle of sorts; it can annihilate all noise like a fresh snowfall blanketing the unsuspecting fields. It erases.
Beside me, now alert, this woman opens the door with swift certainty. Seemingly-impervious to the torrential downpour, she stops a moment to glance about her, at the cedar panels, the lavender railings, the door with the welcome sign now ominously studying its newest victim.
“Welcome,” she chuckles, but her timid, hesitant walk is reflective of just how scared she is. I like them fearful. Resounding screams that fall solely among my ears. A tantalizing experience, these are the elements that are evocative of my last day with my mother.
As she goes to the bathroom I prepare it all. The cloth, the knife, the chloroform. These sights invigorate me, inspiring a small sweat to dance about my pale temple. I shiver in anticipation, all the inner-workings of my body yearn for this. The explosion, the warm drip, the stillness. The stillness is always the best part. It’s almost suggestive of rebirth, thirteen times now. This is when I come alive, when I am avenged for a life of unrequited love, robbed from me and sold at auction to the highest bidders. This is what I deserve.
Finally, the blinding light of the bathroom perforates the heavy darkness of this room, making me jerk up from the bed. The pleather of her corset glimmers beneath the illuminated doorframe.
“You remind me of my father,” she says, clawing at her small bag. “You like them young, don’t you?”
From this bag, still at her chest, she pulls a pistol.
“Man, I love the rain,” she exclaims, driving off in the old Firebird as the first pinks and lavenders of sunrise begin to pierce through the horizon. “They bring the most glorious rainbows.”