As I write this, the sky has opened and the rain is falling relentlessly. I keep thinking that if I had been 10 minutes slower on my walk to the shops, I would have been caught in it and my fluffy coat that people keep telling me how much they like would have gotten soaked and I probably would have been annoyed and then I probably would have gotten over it.
March rain is different from November rain. You can still hear the birds chirping when it rains in March. You can sometimes even still see patches of blue sky. It always looks like there might be a rainbow and sometimes there is, but more often than not there isn’t. It’s easier to tolerate that there’s no rainbow in March than it is in November. Every year, I fall into the trap of thinking that a rainbow in November would make everything better, and maybe it would for a brief moment. But then the rainbow would disappear and people would go on being miserable and hating November. Or maybe people don’t hate November and I just assume they do because someone said it once.
I was supposed to walk to Stockbridge after dinner but now I’m not. I blame the rain. People blame the rain for a lot of things when they secretly don’t want to be doing something anyway. In another flat, in another part of town, somebody somewhere is probably throwing a party and drinking red wine. And the people invited are probably looking out their windows and making excuses about why they can no longer go when they secretly just don’t want to leave their own house – unless they are still young and want to do everything on a Friday night. The rain never stops young people or at least, it never stopped me when I was young.
But now that I’m not so young anymore, it’s a relief that the rain gives us permission to stay home. It’s a relief that you don’t constantly have to be doing things to prove that you’re alive, or that you’re having fun, or that people like you. It’s the kind of relief I sometimes feel when I see very old people sitting on their front porch drinking coffee and not speaking but looking happy anyway. I’ve always wondered when I would feel that quiet joy that doesn’t demand anything. Maybe I’ve found it here – behind rain-splattered windows, over bowls of Thai Red Curry Vegetable Soup, seated across someone I love.