The Rain on the Parade


Yesterday, Paula Dotson Frew’s piece about teaching her daughter to jump in rain puddles reminded me of something that happened while I was living in DC in the 90s.

I’d been out pretty late somewhere on that humid summer night. A movie? A class? A nightclub? Can’t remember now. I certainly didn’t have the money for a cab home, and it was so late that the buses ran on an hourly schedule if they felt like it. Walking home, even if it was a few miles, would be my quickest option, and so I walked.

And halfway through my walk, rain started falling in blinding sheets. I hadn’t known this was coming and had no umbrella, and between the heavy rain and the mist it produced in the darkness, I could barely see where I was going. And most places were closed, so I couldn’t even duck into a shop and wait it out.

At first I was drenched and pissed and wondering why the world hated me. But then I thought “Well, self, we’re in this situation and there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it. So maybe we should just have some fun.”

And that’s what I did. I ran around jumping in puddles and splashing; it wasn’t like I could possibly get more wet by that point. And I shrieked and giggled, because the rain was so loud nobody could hear me anyway.

I was having a ball.

And I could end this story right here and it would be a nice little lesson about making the best of crummy situations. But things didn’t end there.

While I was still splashing around like a loon, I spotted someone approaching me in the torrential rain. Just like that, I became acutely aware that I was a young woman in a soaking-wet dress on a deserted DC street by herself late at night. It wasn’t a great feeling.

But when the person drew close, I saw she was another young woman. And when she reached me, she held out an umbrella.

“Here! Take this!” she called out.

“Oh, no,” I called back. We had to yell even though we were facing each other, because the falling rain was that loud. “Thanks, but I’m OK!”

But she pressed it into my hand anyway, and then she took off into the rainy night like an umbrella-giving Batman.

And, well. I stood there in the rain and tried really hard to focus on the fact that this girl had just done something really cool and nice and awesome for a complete stranger stuck in a soaking downpour with no umbrella.

But all I could think was “Well, crap.” It felt like the universe had just told me Stop acting like an idiot and get home. You’ve got work tomorrow.

Sometimes the universe is just no fun at all.

I’d ❤ a recommend heart if you enjoyed this. You can find a listing of my fiction on Medium here, and I blog occasionally over at my personal website.