Stricken

 

A drop of water fell onto my phone screen, interrupting my walk-and-text-like-a-teenager habit.

Annoyed and surprised I looked up, my leisurely walk slowing into a pause and I let out an audible oh, shit! of dawning recognition. Holy… my walk home from the tram resumed, but as an all-out sprint under the spontaneous thunderstorm that broke out above the city. I had half-a-mile to go before I reached the Barry’s, and the sky was sending rounds of bullets to anything it could see, machine-gunning my head with the enthusiasm of a six-year old boy playing GI Joe. I was completely under attack and had no umbrella-resembling weapons at my disposal…what the heck? It had been a blisteringly hot and sunny day not but four minutes ago.

Hell, four minutes ago I was worried that I was too sweaty to be allowed out in public; in the last thirty seconds I was made too wet to be allowed indoors.

The new dark clouds were almost ridiculous in their sudden mercilessness, and out of instinct I shot forward to avoid the water.

Before I gained much distance I was struck by lightning.

Just kidding, I was just struck by a thought. But the thought shocked me like lightning—What was I running for? Aren’t I in France? Don’t people pay money to watch this happen to other people in movies? Don’t I pay money to watch this happen to other people in movies? I pay to watch (or go through the great effort to stream on-line for free) their freedom unravel as they get caught in the rain on some steps outside some grand cathedral…and here I was running passed l’Eglise Notre-Dame de Talence (built in 1841) like it was just another 7-11.

What was I doing, running like I had somewhere to go? The water wasn’t even cold! The air no longer hot! The heavens were sprinking—no dumping—buckets of wet magic on me.

I stopped running and started laughing.

Then I stopped laughing and started wondering.

Why did I ever run for cover when I was in the rain? When did I grow up and learn that wet clothes would be bitch to get out of? When did I learn to fret about a couple wet pages in my notebook? Oh wait! Waterfalls cascaded into my backpack as I hurriedly opened it and pulled out the gloriously remembered spare, plastic shopping bag. At first I cringed at the heavy splattering of water to the contents of my backpack, but I realized the interior’s dryness was a necessary sacrifice as I stuffed my notebook into it’s new noisy protection. There. My paper was as safe as it ever was gonna be. What’s a little sogginess, you know?

I looked up again and blinked water out of my eyes.

I kept looking up and tried blinking water back into my eyes.

This was nice.

So I kept wondering: why was this so nice?

“Because I’m in France” was too easy. As the rain pelted down even harder and  thicker—and I stood there getting soppier and soppier—I realized the change I wanted for myself. From that point on, I decided, I would let the sky cleanse me whenever I got the chance. What devils had I been listening to all this time, telling me to get out of the rain? Lying to me, spreading nasty rumors that it was immensely inconvenient to get wet?  When I return to the States, I’m gonna resist the urge to run away from such a purifying shower, even if I’m all dressed up.

I want to let myself get drenched in the freedom of because I’m right here and why not. There will always be towels, but a storm will never rain twice. And you always learn something from a storm.

Satisfied with the thought, I stopped wondering.

I stopped wondering and started laughing.

I kept laughing and started dancing.

Because that’s what they do in the movies, and it’s fun as fuck to do in real life.

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