17 Mar 2018 – She Listens to the Rain

Scott Summers365 Stories, General Fiction


Photo by Anjana Menon on Unsplash

Elizabeth heard the rain pattering on the rooftop even before she woke.  It slipped into her dreams like a whisper pressed against her ear and teased her awake with its rooftop patter.  She came awake smiling, threw open the curtain, and peered through the storm-streaked glass out across her city, where car brake lights and women bearing colorful umbrellas meandered down wet roads and narrow sidewalks.  Already, puddles had begun to form.

As she climbed from her bed, Elizabeth listened for distant thunder.  None came.  This was a simple rainstorm — the best kind of weather — and the clouds weren’t angry in the least.  Outside, a passing car blared its horn as it careened through an intersection, a trail of mist streaking up in its wake.

Elizabeth called off her job before she finished making breakfast.  This wasn’t a day for working.  This was a day for watching the world.  She nestled up on the couch beside her living room window and watched the world go by, a cup of steaming coffee warming her palms.

These were the best days, Elizabeth knew.  She’d rarely seen a rainstorm since she moved to town — the place wasn’t known for them, despite the abundance of water nearby.  And even if she’d seen them regularly, they were nothing like the lightning storms back home.  Of course, she wouldn’t wish that kind of weather on anyone, herself least of all.

Her phone chimed.  Elizabeth picked it up and read the screen:

“Are you coming in today?” Jenna asked.  They’d been friends as long as she could remember and, for a moment, she considered telling the truth.

But she didn’t.

“I’m not feeling well,” she replied.  “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

It wasn’t that she didn’t trust her friend.  God knew, Jenna had taken her fair share of sick time when she wanted to meet a guy for drinks or woke up hung over.  Theirs was a friendship centered around workplace commonality, rather than shared interest.  Elizabeth wouldn’t be caught dead at a bar in the middle of the night, just like Jenna wouldn’t understand the beauty of the rain itself.

“Okay, feel better.”

On the couch, Elizabeth stretched and wriggled her toes.  She was already feeling better than any day at the office.  Tomorrow, she’d be back to the grind.  Tomorrow, she’d go shoulder to shoulder with the men and women hustling on the street and vying for seats on the bus.

But not today.  Today, she sat.  She read.  She sipped coffee, and she listened to the rain.

Note:  This will be the last story in the 365 Stories Project for 2018.  It’s been fun, but I’m moving in a different direction with some major life project and, frankly, I need the time allotted to this project to do those other things faster and better.