I had forgotten how good it feels to get caught in the rain – until yesterday. My friend M, who is one of my oldest and dearest friends, sent me a text yesterday afternoon asking if I wanted to hang out. I asked when. He said whenever I could be ready. I told him I needed an hour to take a shower. Then we were on. Just as things used to happen before I was ill. After taking my shower, I was in my closet searching for something to wear and it struck me that I own a lot of clothes that I never wear anymore. It’s as if I allow my illness to dictate my wardrobe. In some respects, it does because wearing a belt or something with a tight waistband is extremely uncomfortable, but aside from that, I can wear anything. So yesterday, I picked out a summer dress I’d bought but never worn. It wasn’t shapeless or loose like the clothes I’ve become accustomed to wearing; and it felt good to put it on.
When M came to get me, he was impressed with my effort. I got in the car and we started to drive with nothing in mind but getting something good to eat. Then it became something good to eat that we could get to take-out and eat by the lake. We decided on burgers and landed at a burger joint where the owner added character, a history lesson, and laughter to our ordering experience. Once we had our massive burgers, fries with homemade gravy and drinks to go, we headed toward the water. We went to a familiar place that we’d been to before on hot summer days. When we got there, M opened the trunk of his car and pulled out two folding chairs he bought on his way to pick me up, which is such a typically impromptu thing for him to do. In the past, it might have been running into a department store to buy shorts because the pants he wore to work that day would hinder his enjoyment of the warmth of a patio somewhere that was our destination to sit, have drinks, laugh, and talk about whatever came to mind.
His preparedness made me smile. We started walking across the sand to find a spot to plant our chairs and dig into the food we earlier watched being made on a grill and was now sending wonderful aromas floating out of the bag. We settled on a spot close to the water’s edge where we could watch kite surfers and kayakers moved across the water by the wind and the waves. M set up my chair and made sure I was comfortable – going as far as draping his jacket over my bare legs to keep them warm. Then we each bit into the best hamburgers we’d ever tasted. The meat of the burger – that’s right I’m eating meat as ordered by my doctors – was so tender and juicy it required little chewing, and the gravy for the fries added another layer of delicious.
We were sitting for a short time when we noticed a line of dark clouds moving steadily over the line of trees behind us. We knew that a storm would hit soon, but we may have underestimated its arrival time. After snapping a few shots of the clouds with my phone, the wind picked up and started to whip the sand. M decided it was time for us to start moving back to the car. While I finished my burger, he began packing up the remaining food from our meal and our chairs. When I swallowed my last bite of burger, he told me to head for the car. By that point, the wind was fiercely stirring the sand and we had to shield our faces as we pushed our way in the direction of the car. Steps away from our target the skies opened and released big, heavy drops of rain that soaked us as soon as they made contact with our bodies.
We started laughing as M got me safely inside the car then worked frantically to get everything else into the trunk. We were laughing because this was one more incident to add to the long list of antics we’ve collected over the span of our thirty plus years of friendship – a nice day at the beach ending with a sandstorm and torrential rains. While I sat drying in the car, I could see M through the rear window struggling to shield himself with his golf umbrella while he tried to get what he needed in and out of the trunk. Finally, he made his way to the driver’s side of the car and as he got into his seat, the wind nearly ripped the green and white umbrella out of his hands. This only made us laugh more. We sat out the rainstorm in the car and watched lightning flash across the grey sky through the moon roof, as drops of rain pooled on the glass.
When the rain finally stopped, we went for a short walk. There was a point along the shore that M wanted to show me. From that vantage point, it’s possible to see the entire skyline of our city, and it was beautifully framed by breaking clouds that allowed a golden glow of setting sunlight to shine through. It was the perfect end to a day spent with one of my favourite people.
Eddie Rabbitt – I Love A Rainy Night