When the Rain Begins to Fall

Study #36 by Kevin Carrel Footer

It was raining outside but I was warm inside you in that room scented of teas. When we went down to the river to gaze on something other than each other, we marveled at the fish jumping. Their dull “plops” echoed in the silence under the trees and left concentric circles on the dappled surface of the water.

We stood there on the bank watching the fishermen — standing on rocky prominences, in waders, in dinghies — cast their lines. I fancied them of two minds: some hoping to catch the fish of their dreams and some not wanting to ever catch a fish because catching one would kill something inside them. Like us, they only wanted to be in the presence of that mighty force. Governed by an irresistible gradient, the river admires only headstrong flesh that swims against its currents.

If someone told me that you had come to this town from the river, I would have believed them. If they said that some children had come screaming into town after seeing you emerge that first day nude and shedding water, I would say, yes, that does sound like you.

Your habits are those of an animal. The natural world is strong in you. You have your territory and you rove it, exploring to its boundaries but no further. There are times when you hibernate and do not see another soul for months on end and you do not mind. You are mostly self-contained.

I, by contrast, arrived on the wind. My destiny is to come and to go and never to linger. I bring the scent of the places I have been but I myself am perforated and airy, free of material substance.

You stay close to the river always, never straying. Your body craves the purification of the river’s caress.

Standing on the water’s edge, I felt you beside me yearning toward the storm-gorged flow. Go ahead, I gestured with my chin, willing you into your destiny.

You stripped down to your skin and slipped into the water, barely rippling its surface. For a long time, I watched you, marveling at how your body — never awkward on land — became even more graceful in the water, a single muscle and purpose in the current.

You did not come up for air and I thought that I had lost you to the river. I was about to leave when you poked your head above and beckoned to me. Though it is not my element — I prefer words and solid land — I followed you in.

Beneath the surface, my eyes saw only splotches of color, never a sharp edge. I tried to feel the liquid world around me. You took my hand and guided me through the dark waters, leading me deeper. I was frightened but you were kind and playful. You seemed amused at my awkwardness at breathing in this new way but your watery smile calmed me.

You took me down to the river bottom. The cool ooze wrapped around my feet. You put your lips to mine and I took a gasping gulp of you.

Above us there was a soft glow and the glint of a fisherman’s dinghy. My body kept wanting to float back up to the surface; I had to hold onto you to keep from rising. You, however, remained on the river bottom without any apparent effort.

Our kiss was like a jolt of energy, everything passing through this one opening into your body. Our tongues darted back and forth like minnows.

Eventually you lead me back to the surface. I climbed out shivering and walked up the shore, dazed. While I got dressed and the heat began to return to my cells, I glimpsed your back arcing as you jumped through the air, made a small “plop” then slipped again under the surface of the water.

It is dawn and it is still raining outside. It always rains here, you tell me. We speak softly as we say our goodbyes, and head to separate realms: you to the water, I back to the wind. Your words are slow and gentle, like poetry, floating suspended in the space between us.

Today it is raining where I am and I remember you emerging bright and glistening from the waters.

Will I always think of you when the rain begins to fall?

One response to “When the Rain Begins to Fall”

  1. Silvia Avatar

    Couldn’t stop reading your account. Full of images, action, feelings. Excellent piece of writing about the rain, fishing, love, river and memories.

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