4.07 / July 2009

Babies On The Shore

listen to this story

Just as I reached the beach, it rained. The naked raindrops fell on my face, making me blink, and stuck to my lips, turning to syrup in my gloss. Mother’s ghost warned me to go back, that I’d catch my death, like death was something to be chased, like I was still a little girl. I pressed on, seeing the rain as welcoming me. Mother said that it was spitting on me. If we must walk, she sulked, she wanted to put the rain back in the sky, believed that she had the power. Me, I sipped the rain, and reminded her that there were no cracks in the sand. The rain tasted sweet and savory at once, a cocktail. Mother said I’d perish. I assured her that I was willing to sacrifice myself. She threatened to find a prescription for me yet.

Thousands of ladybugs dotted the shore, like the ocean had just birthed them. See, I told Mother, ladybugs were a good omen. They’re dead, she said. They weren’t. I clapped the rain, laughing at first, but then stopping, worrying I was squashing the drops like I sometimes did fruit flies. Several times, I tried to insert a tender finger into a raindrop, wondering what was inside, what had it got? There you go again, Mother said, with your funny ideas. Her words tattooed me. The rain did too, but in a different way. In the distance, a long white sailboat sat on the water. It could have been a speedboat. Both frightened me. Mother laughed: you always were afraid. I wondered if rain had memory, if it knew where it ended and began? Who felt abandoned, the rain or the clouds? Did rain ever suffer fear, sadness, anger or any other emotion? Mother laughed harder. I asked the rain for its hand, just like I’d often asked my father for his. When I didn’t feel its pull, I turned my head to the sky, wishing the rain would liquidate me. From behind me, Mother said would you stop.

I whirled around, knowing that she was there and not there. The rain has color, can you see that? I demanded. Can you hear rain sing? Feel rain hold you. She said the rain was impotent, baby drool. Have you ever danced with the rain, Mother? Tasted rain? Talked with rain? Did she know that rain was something to be opened, drop by drop? I wanted to smack her, to hear the splat that a water balloon makes when it bursts. Only she was shaking her head in that stunned way, and I realized that mixed with the rain, her face was wet from crying, drop after drop falling.

4.07 / July 2009