It rained last week.
The promise of fresh grass and damp soil opened the window of my small dorm with expectant zeal. But the only scent that met me was wet, stained tarmac, and the city’s heavy, waterlogged smoke.
It is hard to move the body when it is depressed. Limbs that are usually eager to dance feel heavy with the weight of past disappointments, and the grief that has burrowed inside my bones reminds me it is still there, my skeleton riddled with its holes and so fragile today that one real feeling will crumble it to dust.
I move, anyway.
I resist the urge to reach for my slacks; those safe garments that enable the body to curl up into its catatonic, clenched little fist. I choose instead the hip-hugging pencil skirt, and bright colors of the rainbow that will shine in defiance of the gloomy, rainy day; colors that invite the attention of people around me, an outfit that invites compliments and forces me to smile, even if only to be polite. I whisper promises to myself of “later”; “later” we will let the darkness in, and curl up in our soft pajamas like the injured animal we are, and we will cry and we won’t move; we’ll be still as a dead thing beneath the stars in the winter of our grief…
But we are not dead yet, and our days are for living; and to be alive is to be painful. It’s the stretched muscle of a good run; it’s the freshly made bed rumpled with the laughter of friends who flung themselves on it like a couch. If my heart is heavy today it is only because it still loves; and if it still loves then it still beats, and I am still here, and here is still a good place to be. With enough rain the smoke will pass, and the soil here will become good and dark and fertile. The spring will stir the flower buds of the many trees and cause them to flower under the weight of the unnatural clouds. And I will spend the winter listening to the stories that others tell me of how their strange, unique lives have changed them, and warm my hands by their fire until my skin too is ready to split and blossom into whatever creature I will be after this experience.
And I will look forward to the rain, when it comes; the rains that make all things clean and fresh, and soothe the tired throat of the thirsty child within me; the rains that make all things good and dark and fertile again.