No one knows what the body can do. -Spinoza

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Romance of Rain Not About Simple-Romance at All

One of the more romantic moments of my life consisted in a friend and I caught together in the rain a couple of years ago. The funny thing is that this was a time with someone dear to me that, even so, is simply a friend. So, in that sense, the moment I reference is not one typically romantic. That is, we were in no way entering into a romance. Still, it stands out as a moment special to me, and one in which I felt life, closeness to another, and the aesthetic of love as represented in classic movies all came together to express themselves in a moment.

I suppose I bring this up now partially because earlier tonight I was texting with this same friend, but also because here I am now, entirely across the continent we share, caught inside a house because outside there is a snowstorm. Because of the snow, I am thinking on the experience I am in the middle of now, but also thinking to experiences I have had before.

We were walking across town together in the late evening in Montreal one summer. It was dark outside, and the streets already were empty. We were dressed in clothes that were light, because outside it was warm. We'd just left the home of our friends. In our leaving together there was something important we shared --an understanding of our standing outside that situation, and so together in our new one (most simply, that of walking together outside).

We'd decided we were hungry, but mostly we were walking simply because it was what the evening demanded. In the midst of it we were speaking on things --what is important in the way we live our lives, how we make decisions, the way such decisions connect to our work in philosophy, the ways philosophy can make it hard, otherwise, to live a simply normal life, the way that we were both single and okay with it.

The sky had begun to cloud over but we'd payed little notice of it. Someone had even said they expected it would rain. Still, we hadn't planned. There we were outside, on largely empty roads, walking in the night, just the two of us. Then, without warning heard by either of us, the sky opened up and it was rushing rain. The water falling was thick and rich enough we'd be wet in mere moments. There we were hiding together under a store awning. We had a choice. We could crouch waiting for who knows how long. Or, we could run. We chose to run.

Together the two of us raced through the rain, not caring about our bodies, or our clothes, or the goods inside the bags strapped to our bodies, except that any of them were part of our movement. We ran until we reached, several blocks later, another awning. Then we stood there again laughing, laughing, wet through to skin, laughing together.

It was one of the more perfect moments I've lived. Just the two of us there in a world silent except for the un-ignorable sound of the falling rain, laughing as we looked at each other, both soaked through our clothes to skin. It occurred to me at the time that if we'd been romantically inclined to each other, that would be the moment to kiss. Instead, we laughed again waiting as we caught our breath, then dashed out into the rain running as hard and fast as we could to the next awning. We covered the city this way. We ran in three minute bursts again and again for a mile or two that night until we reached the awning before one of the main walking streets in town, and stood together waiting before we ran on one more time to a pizza venue. We waited partially because in the moment we entered the pizza venue the night would be changed from our private space together in the rain, to an experience of weather shared with others, also laughing.

I don't remember how I slept that night, though I must have made it home again somehow. I do recall that days later when I washed my clothes they'd been stained green by the leather bag I'd carried my books and papers in. It had been held across my body as we ran, its green strap coloring through my shirt, my bra, all the way to my skin. Mostly, the papers inside had stayed dry. It's leather was never the same. In that friendship I still share an unspoken, but palpable brilliance --an understanding of the feelings of life when accepted as wonderfully expressive bursts of joy run through inescapable rain. I can feel it each time we reconnect after months of living apart in the various cities our work demand of us to live. For such life I am grateful. It is a kind of joy I'd gladly reconnect to again and again, a reminder of how much fun we can have in unanticipated surprise.

1 comment:

  1. Such great visuals and experience Elaine!

    There is something about abandoning all reserve in a rainstorm...

    I had a friend back in the day who loved to dance as much as I do; we would take our music outside and dance, we didn't care how many cars drove by or if people watched as they walked along or peered through windows. Those are some of my favorite memories and we hold a special bond.

    Love the new look of the blog too! :)