Last night it rained, and we all completely lost it.
Since I moved to this area there hasn’t been a drop of rain. The first thing I noticed when I moved here is that there are never any clouds. Ever. Occasionally I’ll see a few distant wisps lurking behind the mountains, and recently we’ve had the clogs of smoke blowing over from the wildfires, but never any cloud cover and never any rain. Every time I check the seven-day forecast, I see a little line of suns. It’s been a hot and dry summer that led into a hot and dry fall.
Then out of nowhere, the forecast showed lightning and heavy storms. Rumor flew that we’d be getting the tail end of the hurricane, which had largely blown out but would still mean more rain than we’d had all summer. But every day those little storm clouds on the forecast would be pushed back. “It’ll rain on Tuesday!” “Actually we should get more rain on Wednesday.” “It’ll be coming down hard on the weekend.” “It might rain by October …”
Then last night around 9:45, while I was sprawled out on my couch studying, I glanced out the window and saw my neighbor waving his arms and leaping like a maniac. My roommate and I dashed outside.
Rain. Lighting illuminated the water-logged courtyard, thunder barely audible over the rain pounding on the rooftops and sidewalks, the sheer volume of water seeming comparable to the monsoons of my childhood. Heads began popping out of apartment windows, and all at once everyone was outside, abandoning homework without a second thought despite our looming midterms, staring, laughing, crying, filming, shouting their joy. Without thinking we ran into it, spinning and dancing like fools, getting thoroughly soaked. We didn’t care–it was raining, and from the new freshmen to the eternal grad students, we were all children again.
I’m not over-dramatizing, that is literally what happened. We felt so liberated. I’ve never been more aware that I live in a desert, and I haven’t been happier all month.
I’ve always loved rainstorms, but this one seemed to have unblocked me somehow. For those moments in the storm, we all shed our professionalism and social pretenses and need to be adult-like. For those moments in the storm, I was a little girl splashing in puddles again. All the stress and worry and doubt that I’d let build up inside me cut free, like a long exhale, like the water pouring from the sky.