Since David and I moved to Rome, we sometimes walk to the grocery store closest to us. Most of the time, it's for essentials like beer and cookie dough, and a stroll can be a nice way to end the day. Today, however, I was just feeling cooped up and hungry, so I decide, despite the look of the ominous sky, it was time for a walk.
Have you ever experienced summer rain that feels like relief? I'm not talking about when it's been dry and blisteringly hot outside, but the other kind of pre-storm that feels pregnant with moisture and pressure. Like a lid on a jar that just won't give in, just won't, and then suddenly, it does.
It's the kind of rain that makes the whole world feel wet, and the raindrops sound and feel more like a water balloon ambush. This was the kind of rain that started coming down just as I decided to walk to the grocery store. It ran every where, and it was so all at once that the ground couldn't lap it up quick enough. Little puddles were quickly big puddles, and the rain kept coming so hard and fast that soon I wasn't sure what was bouncing off the ground and what was falling from the sky. At first I tried to cover up with my rain jacket, but soon the world was so wet and soggy that the wispy pieces of hair that escaped my jacket were dewy cobwebs across my face. So, I pulled down my hood and bathed in it.
It wasn't a cold and refreshing rain, but a steamy one that tasted like the green, summery June it frolicked with. In those minutes, I time-travelled. I no longer worked at a college, paid a mortgage, or cared whether the laundry was put away. I was approximately 9, freckled, and free.
And then it was over. The grocery store's fluorescent lights and motion-censored doors released an attack of cold air, and I came to my senses, dripping. A large, middle-aged woman at a nearby check-out counter let out a cackle and hollered over, "Honey, you pick the wr-awww-ng tiiime to walk." "Yes, yes, I did mumbled back," trying to stifle my grin. I had definitely not picked the wrong time to walk.
As I began to walk back, pretty waterlogged and now carrying groceries, the novelty of the moment began to wear off, that is, until I saw three children sitting at the end of their driveway sprawled out in the nastiest of puddles. One had a cup and was dumping the water on the other, and they were singing. I waved and yelled, "Y'all having fun?" "YEAH!" They yelled in unison. "Me too," I replied.
From somewhere came giggling, and I looked up at the house to see two mothers huddled in the front door, witnessing all the glee. I waved and they waved back.
And now I sit here, not sure what to make of this moment, but knowing I want to capture it before it's swallowed up as a yesterday. And I know if I say or think too much, it might start sounding like some sappy, made-up country song. But I will say this, it's been a really strange and really beautiful summer afternoon.