When I was a child I used to think cloudy, rainy days, the days that made the entire neighborhood shut indoors, were dreary. I would cross my arms and become disappointed, but made the effort not to show it when I would hear the soft taps of rain hitting my air conditioning unit, silently screwed into my window. I loved the feeling of running around in the park, the warm glow of the afternoon sun tingling my dark skin, the sweat dripping off my face as I ran giddly around the playground. Sunny days are when I could let my feet run, and let my mind soar. On cloudy days we stayed inside, trapped within the cozy confinements of home. Sometimes, my brother and I would curl up next to each other, pulling out our DS’s, playing Animal Crossing, visiting each other’s towns to steal fruit that we needed for our own.
My legs became longer, making the stretch marks on my knees visible, and my unfortunate chest laid ridden with stretch marks, the tell-all sign of a female body. Very quickly I tried to find the beauty in why so many writers love the smell of an oncoming storm, or carefully listen to the rapid tapping of the soft rain, as it knocked on the windows. I let my windows open to listen to the thunder roll in. During a summer trip to my tía’s tight-knit gated community, in the sunshine state of Florida, she warned me about the recurring thunderstorms that tend to linger throughout the night. They would start at the same time every night, and stayed throughout the muggy darkness. Every night for that week, I sat on her porch, stuffed to the brim with knick-knacks and not-so-important decor that couldn’t fit in her house. I turned off all the lights in the living room, and listened to the distance clap of thunder and the soft knocking of rain.
I met a woman who deepened my appreciation for the rain. In the beginning of a pandemic that shoved the world off kilter, she offered me her home, not giving a second thought to her decision. She took me under her strong wing, grounded me, and tucked soil underneath my feet so that new sprouts could grow. She’d laid a hand on my chest and grounded my body when I got too antsy from sitting for so long, pointing to the window, directing my focus on the soft knocking of the rain on the second story window. She gestured for me to open up the window, and flipped my phone on its face. We cuddled up with blankets that blanketed thoughts running faster than legs, and we listened to the whooshing noise of the sideways rain splat on the concrete street. For a moment, I was able to understand the soothing footfalls of the rain.