Rain, a love story

It is raining. It always starts with the raining. Always. I run to the car as the first cold wet drops splat on my bald head. I press the button, hear the door unlock, jump in and press the ignition. The car starts as the drops fall faster. They are loud and only grow louder as they fall. But not as loud as the music. Crunchy guitars assail me in the thumping rain.

One, Two, Three, Four!

I jump as the music starts. Always forgetting how loud I had it as I drove home from work. I reach to turn it down to normal levels but stop myself.

She was a star dressed in black, dressed in black. When I’m so cold all of the time, all of the time.

I sing along. I always sing along as I put it into reverse and back out of the driveway. I see her watching me from the window. A small, apologetic smile on her beautiful face and a slight wave. I throw the devil horns to her and smile back as I flip on the headlights.

It really starts before the rain.

Before the music. It starts five years prior. At the grocery store in the frozen aisle.

It starts with a pint of vanilla ice cream and a question. It starts with my hands holding the pint of vanilla ice cream and going to set it in the cart.

It starts with her asking a question. “Do you drink your coffee black as well?”

I pause in setting the ice cream into the cart and look up into her beautiful brown eyes. I pause breathing as I stare at the single most perfect woman I have ever seen in my life. My mouth falls open and I try and answer.
Her eyes crinkle and sparkle as she smiles. “Well? I bet you do. Black coffee?”

My mouth moves without thought. “And stare at the walls.”
She cocks her head in confusion at me.

Everything begins to function at that point, the world rebounds into shape like a rubber band. I feel my face flush deep crimson. Not just my face but my entire, freshly shaven head. “Black Flag. Black Coffee. You know? Drinking black coffee, drinking black coffee, stare at the walls.”

“Uh huh. So that’s a yes?” she asks with that smile growing again.

“I guess so. Why?”

She points at the vanilla ice cream in my hand. “They say psychopaths drink their coffee black. I say psychopaths grab vanilla ice cream when there are at least fifteen varieties of chocolate as viable options.”

I set the ice cream down in the cart carefully. If I’m honest, I would have never talked to her. She is as close to perfection as I have ever seen outside of a movie or what I imagine a runway filled with super models would look like.

Also she is blonde. I don’t go for blondes normally. They just scare me off. I’ve dated two in my entire life and they both ended badly. Tragically. Horrifically. I’d convinced myself I was into mousy brunettes that only mildly made my life a living hell rather than let myself get tangled with another blonde goddess that would most likely kill me.

I had no idea how right this was. None. But that is later. This is where it starts. Not where it ends.

She was so gorgeous it turned off the receptors in my head that said to be afraid. So absolutely mind boggling beautiful that I felt I could say anything and get away with it. What difference would it make? I had no chance with someone that looks like that. Tanned, perfect skin stretched over a slender frame.

Besides. She isn’t my type.

Brunette. Mousy. A little nerdy.

“I do, indeed, take my coffee black. And I also prefer the term sociopath over psychopath. The voices in my head think it sounds classier,” I responded with cool and calm.

She laughed. It was the sound of angels singing. “My apologies. Tell the voices I misdiagnosed them and meant no harm.”

“We aren’t speaking at the moment. They wanted Rocky Road.”

“Well. They have good taste then. Rocky Road is my favorite.” She pointed into her cart where a pint rested neatly next to a bag of frozen kale.

“Don’t agree with them. It gives them a sense of entitlement. They are hard enough to live with as is. If they think they have something in common with a model I will never get a moment’s peace.” She stared at me. I could fall into those deep brown eyes and never look back.

Then I realized what I had just said. “Oh shit. I’m sorry. That sounded like the world’s worst pick up line.” The crimson flared across my scalp again.

“So you didn’t mean it?” she asked. She kept staring at me. A lock of long blonde hair had slipped down her cheek and all I wanted to do was push it back behind her ear. I had to will my arm to stay by my side.

“No. I really do drink my coffee black. But I suppose I am not really a sociopath.” Fuck. She is so nice to look at. What am I saying?

“Or a psychopath. I’m just a regular guy. No murderous impulses at all.”

Real fucking smooth. Idiot.

She laughed. “That is probably good then. I meant the part about me being a model though.”

“Well. I don’t know what you do for a living but that seems like a real possibility. Or super villain. Model or super villain would be my first guess.”

She made a shocked face at me. “And why not both?”

“I guess that is likely. What better cover for a super villain? Strutting down the catwalk by day, plotting to steal the crown jewels by night. Damn. And here I thought I was the psychopath.”

“You just said you weren’t one though,” she cocked her head at me. A look of consternation crossed her face. Even that was lovely.

“Now that I think about it. A real psychopath would definitely say they were not a psychopath. Are you either a model or a super villain?” I squinted at her as if I could discern her level of evil.

“A super villain wouldn’t admit that out loud the same as a psychopath.”

I laughed and she joined me.

“Well, touché. It seems we are at an impasse.”

“It seems to be.” She kept looking at me.

I felt my tongue grow heavy as I realized this had gone on longer than I expected. I wanted to ask her out but the rational part of me said there was no chance she would say yes. Anything I said now was destined to fail. So I did what I do. I sought to escape. “Well, good luck with the Rocky Road. Me and vanilla and a pot of black coffee have a date with Fury Road.”

I started to push my cart down the aisle. A hollow feeling growing in my guts as I realized I would most likely never see this vision of beauty again. Then I felt her hand on my arm. “Not so fast Mr. Psychopath. Now that you have figured out I am a super villain intent on stealing the crown jewels I cannot let you go that easily. You’ll call the police the minute you get around the corner.”

I looked at her in surprise. “And tell them what? The most beautiful woman I have ever seen is plotting the heist of the century? And she loves Rocky Road ice cream? They’ll laugh at me and find the bodies in my freezer. Then I’ll be stuck in prison. Your secret is safe with me.”

She smiled. It was one of those smiles you see that makes you charge into a cave and slay a dragon. The kind that is so sincere and sweet that it spreads roots into your heart and squeezes in the most delicious agony. The kind that let’s you know, without a doubt, you are madly in love with a stranger in a grocery store.
“My name is Allie.”

It started with ice cream in a grocery store. It started with her calling me a psychopath and then proceeding to take my heart.

That’s where it started without a doubt.

It is raining. It always starts with the raining. Always. I run to the car as the first cold wet drops splat on my bald head. I press the button, hear the door unlock, jump in and press the ignition. The car starts as the drops fall faster. They are loud and only grow louder as they fall. But not as loud as the music. Crunchy guitars assail me in the thumping rain.

One, Two, Three, Four!

I jump as the music starts. Always forgetting how loud I had it as I drove home from work. I reach to turn it down to normal levels but stop myself.

She was a star dressed in black, dressed in black. When I’m so cold all of the time, all of the time.

I sing along. I always sing along as I put it into reverse and back out of the driveway. I see her watching me from the window. A small, apologetic smile on her beautiful face and a slight wave. I throw the devil horns to her and smile back as I flip on the headlights.

The band is toyGuitar. I downloaded their album the day I met her in the grocery store. I had thrown them on my iPod and the album had become a fixture ever since that day. In fact, the song Is It True was stuck in my head as I was grabbing my pint of vanilla ice cream. I had been singing it as I decided which of the ten different kinds of vanilla to buy.

I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t get past the way to. I’m always been around and hanging upside down. Doooown. The drain with the keys to the attic with the lights out. Replaced by the sound of the splatters, crashing to the floor. I’ve been here before, choking on the leaves, so bittersweet.

Much like that meeting out of the blue in a the frozen section, it was love at first sight. Or listen. Whatever.

She asked me out that night and I somehow stumbled over the words enough to say yes. We exchanged numbers right there. I floated out of the store and sang along at the top of my lungs as I drove home. I watched Fury Road and texted her late into the night. That was five years ago.

This night. The one that started with the rain on my bald head as I rushed to the car. This was a different start. I guess it wasn’t really the start either.

This night started with me coming home from work. I opened the door and tossed my keys into the bowl on the table. The house smelled great. It always seemed to. She had been cooking and garlic and onion floated to my nose and made my stomach growl in anticipation. Then I saw her sitting on the couch. She was somehow even more stunning five years in than on that first chance encounter. I soaked in her slender form sitting there. Her tanned legs curled beneath her. That strand of golden hair fallen on to her cheek. She looked up at me and I saw her eyes looked puffy. But that didn’t stop the smile as she stood and walked hurriedly over to me and wrapped her arms around me. I engulfed her in a bear hug and felt her grunt as I squeezed her for all I was worth. My nose in her hair and the scent of wildflowers washing out everything else. Concern and love radiating from my every pore.

“I missed you today my love,” I whispered into her ear.

“I missed you too my sociopath,” she murmured back.

I pulled back a little after a few moments and brushed that stray lock behind her ear. “Bad day beautiful?”

She nodded. “Better now though.”

I lifted her chin gently with my finger and stared into those bottomless brown eyes. “Is it?”
She stared at me, I saw them grow watery again and it broke me to think of her sad. “What can I do to make it better?”

She smiled a little and the storm seemed to pass. “Rocky Road.”

I smiled back. “Your wish is my command. I’ll be right back.”

She grabbed my arm as I turned to leave and pulled me back into her embrace. “You just got home. You don’t have to go back out. It looks like rain.”

I shrugged. “My goddess has a craving. What kind of man would I be to let her go without?”
She kissed me. Softly. Gently. The kind of kiss that melts a person, turns them to goo in the spot. Then she turned up the intensity and I felt the gooey bits grow harder and harder still. All I wanted was to follow this through. To pick her up and carry into the bedroom and…

…and thunder rattled the windows. “I will be back in just a few minutes and we can finish this thought. I love you. Let me beat this storm and come back with your heart’s content.”

“You’re my heart’s content,” she said with a smile. “I love you too. Thank you.”

“Of course beautiful. You know I’d do anything for you.” I grabbed the keys and walked to the door. Lightning flashed through the window and I really wanted to not go back out there. She wouldn’t have cared. But it would have bothered me, knowing she wanted it and I let a little rain stop me.

It started raining. It always starts with the raining. Always. I run to the car as the first cold wet drops splat on my bald head. I press the button, hear the door unlock, jump in and press the ignition. The car starts as the drops fall faster. They are loud and only grow louder as they fall. But not as loud as the music. Crunchy guitars assail me in the thumping rain.

One, Two, Three, Four!

I jump as the music starts. Always forgetting how loud I had it as I drove home from work. I reach to turn it down to normal levels but stop myself.

She was a star dressed in black, dressed in black. When I’m so cold all of the time, all of the time.

I sing along. I always sing along as I put it into reverse and back out of the driveway. I see her watching me from the window. A small, apologetic smile on her beautiful face and a slight wave. I throw the devil horns to her and smile back as I flip on the headlights.

The store is only ten minutes away. But when it rains everyone forgets what is happening and it becomes an end of the world scenario. No matter where I have lived or travelled it is always the same. A few random drops hits a windshield and civility goes flying. She hates how I let the people around me get under my skin. I worry she isn’t always joking when she calls me her psychopath. And nothing brings out the rage like driving in the rain. Nothing. The ten minute drive turns into fifteen and then twenty as traffic crawls around me. If she were here she would put her hand on my thigh and squeeze to calm me down. But she is home and upset and I am a white knight snarling at the morons around me. I just turn the music up louder in an effort to drown out the seething in my head.

The store is packed and I have to park halfway into the next county from the front door. The rain. Carries the cold promise of winter as it runs down my scalp and into my eyes. The parking lot is flooded and I feel the water soaking into the seams of my shoes. The cold makes my feet feel just as wet as if I went barefoot. I glare at my Doc’s and wonder if it isn’t time to get a new pair. She would laugh at me if I brought it up. Vans or Doc’s were all I would wear.

“Another sign of psychopathic tendencies is a rigid structure.” I could hear her say it with a grin in my head.

The number one plus about being bald and perpetually angry looking is how people part in front of me as I stomp down the aisle to grab her ice cream from the glass doored freezer. No small talk. Just a wide berth. It was exactly what I preferred from my shopping trips. I found the Rocky Road and grabbed three pints of it. Better to have it on hand and not have to make another emergency trip. I grabbed a couple vanilla as well. Then it would make her less self conscious when I get it home. Plus I would be able to join her without having her force me to eat the nasty marshmallow and chocolate hell.

The other big plus for me to come here is the self check out lanes. I could theoretically make it in and out without saying a single word to another person. I punch in the phone number for the reward discount. It only takes two tries, which I blame my fumbling on having frozen fingers from the ice cream. Then I scan the pints and set them in the beige vomit colored bags. It wouldn’t be self checkout if the machine didn’t scream at me to place the items in the bag each and every goddamned item in turn. Finally the red light blinked and the cashier had to come over and make sure I wasn’t trying to steal before putting in her override code. I swipe my card and with a sigh head back out into the storm of the century with my treasure.

I am soaked to the skin by the time I get in the car. I turn the heat on and the volume down. It is a game I play. Turn the volume to an acceptable level before turning it right back up as I drive. The wipers are working overtime trying to keep the windshield clear. My hands keep tapping on the steering wheel as I choke down my angry screams at the idiots that seemed to have rushed out to drive twenty miles below the speed limit as their feeble brains try and make sense out of the falling water from the sky. I keep hitting the forward button on the steering wheel. None of the songs that come up on random scratching the itch. I get into funks where nothing is right. Or I fall into a vortex where only one album or band will satisfy.

“Again, rigid structure is key to the psychopathic mindset,” she taunts in my head. I smile and nod. Then keep skipping tracks until another toyGuitar song comes on.

Gravity wake on the event horizon, crashing on the tentative swing. Bobcat cola and safety pins, nostalgic and passé. I’ve got keys to the pieces, summon the ashes there on my cranial nerve…

It helps. The louder the better. I slap my hands along with the drums and sing like a madman. It is either that or scream at the poor bastards heading to their empty homes for a depressing dinner alone. Not everyone has an angel to rush home to. I get that. I do. And the second I see a side street that will take me slightly out of my way but without any traffic I flip on my blinker and make my break. It feels good to race down the empty street with the music cranked to near distortion. To sing along and watch the water spray up alongside the car like Moses jamming the fuck out in the Red Sea.

I laugh at the though of a bald punk rock Moses leading the Jews to the promise land. A safety pin through his septum and a tattered Dead Kennedys shirt whipping in the breeze. The Pharoah’s armies following the sound of Jello Biafra screaming about Reagan and cocaine as the water comes crashing down on top of them.

The burning bush speaking with Joey Ramone’s New York accent about wanting to be sedated.
“Jesus is a punk, Judas is a runt. They both went down to Berlin joined the ice capades. Oh I don’t know why. No, I don’t know why. Perhaps they’ll die. Oh oh. Perhaps they’ll die. Oh oh. Second verse, same as the first!” I sing in my snottiest voice. The thought of religious figures listening to punk rock cracking me up as the same music blares out of the speakers in the door next to me.

I look over at the plastic bag filled with five pints of ice cream and smile. She will be so happy when I get home. A bit of soaked to the bone and roadway shenanigans well worth her smile. We’ll sit on the couch, her legs on my lap as I rub her feet. She will make fun of my vanilla and we will watch whatever random thing she chooses on TV. If there is truly a heaven, it will be hard pressed to compete with a night like that. I can feel the stupid grin stretching my cheeks as I think about it. Nothing makes me as happy as spending the night like that. Just sitting with the woman I love, enjoying being close to her. There could be no greater joy in this or any other world than knowing she is happy.

That is when I look up and see two red eyes shining at me from the center of the road. Panic hits me as I slam on the brakes. The tires begin hydroplane. The biggest fucking dog I have ever seen is standing in the rain, in the middle of the road directly in front of me. It looks nearly horse sized and doesn’t flinch as I bear down on it. The car is sliding on a layer of water between rubber and asphalt. I try and regain control but part of me knows it is not going to happen. I jerk the wheel in an effort to miss the monstrous mutt. One of the tires, just one, finds purchase on the road. Not enough to gain a semblance of ownership. The front passenger side clips a car parked by the curb and suddenly I am airborne. There is a moment where everything is frozen in time. Jangling guitars and double bass staccato fill the world as I am flung into my seat belt. I see the red eyes of the gigantic mongrel calmly watch me flipping in two tons of plastic and metal. The beige vomit colored bag is suspended in front of me and I see the smiling face of Ben or maybe Jerry hover in sublime weightlessness. Cartoon letters spell out Rocky Road as a bellow of pain and fear slowly escapes my mouth.

I see her.

“Do you drink your coffee black too?” she asks me as the world spins.

“I am sorry Allie,” I say back to her. “I love you.”

She smiles sadly at me, her eyes puffy from crying.

Then suddenly it all stops with a crash and searing pain explodes throughout my body. Before it all fades to black I see red dripping and mixing in with the open pint of Rocky Road that somehow is all over the roof of the car. Then flashing red and blue lights. Then nothing.

When I open my eyes again, I am here. In this waiting room. I’m sitting in a chair, one of those hard plastic chairs with the metal legs. I don’t know how I got here. I look around and see most of the chairs are filled with hazy, indistinct people. I can’t tell if they are out of focus or if I am. I have a piece of paper clutched in my hand and I see the number eighty four on it. I look around and see a big digital display on the wall in front of me with a flashing eighty three on it. Then a bell dings and the number eighty four starts flashing.

A voice calls out, “Eighty four. Number Eighty four? Please come to the back.”

I stand up and for some reason I am surprised that I can. I feel like something happened. Something bad. But it feels unimportant. I walk to a doorway that opens as I reach it. It leads to a hallway lined with doors and I walk, half asleep feeling down the hall. As I reach the end of the hall a door on my left opens and I turn and look inside of it.

“Please, come in and take a seat,” an ordinary looking man in glasses says. I do as he asks. He shuffles through some papers on his desk. “Do you know why you are here?”

“I am not even sure where here is,” I answer truthfully.

He nods. “That is pretty typical. How about you tell me what you do remember.”

I sit and think about it for a long moment. Then two brown eyes fill me mind. I feel an aching sorrow fill me to overflowing.

It is raining. It always starts with the raining. Always. I run to the car as the first cold wet drops splat on my bald head. I press the button, hear the door unlock, jump in and press the ignition. The car starts as the drops fall faster. They are loud and only grow louder as they fall. But not as loud as the music. Crunchy guitars assail me in the thumping rain.

One, Two, Three, Four!

I jump as the music starts. Always forgetting how loud I had it as I drove home from work. I reach to turn it down to normal levels but stop myself.

She was a star dressed in black, dressed in black. When I’m so cold all of the time, all of the time.

I sing along. I always sing along as I put it into reverse and back out of the driveway. I see her watching me from the window. A small, apologetic smile on her beautiful face and a slight wave. I throw the devil horns to her and smile back as I flip on the headlights…

18 thoughts on “Rain, a love story

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