As published in The Tenth Muse, Volume 4, Spring 2014
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RAIN — I am standing naked in the pouring rain. It’s late on a Friday night. Or early on a Saturday morning. It depends on how you choose to look at it. The rain is hitting my body and it feels like hundreds of little blunt needles. They don’t hurt. But people always tell you that. At the doctor’s office they look at you and say Just count to three and think about Santa Claus! It’s just a little poke! It won’t hurt a bit! They lie, those nurses. And they’re pretty good at it too.
But this rain really doesn’t hurt me. It feels cleansing. It’s entering my pores and washing out all the dirt like a microdermabrasion. Microdermabrasion: a light cosmetic procedure that uses a mechanical medium for exfoliation to gently remove the outermost layer of dead skin cells from the epidermis. The exfoliating process uses crystal or diamond flakes to rub on the skin and make it brand new again.
The average cost of a diamond engagement ring is between $3,500 and $4,000.
Meanwhile, at the dermatologist, diamond flakes are used to exfoliate a pubescent teenager’s pimply face.
This rain makes me feel brand new.
LOVE – March 6, 1993: A mother gives birth to a nine-pound baby girl. This baby was stubborn and in breech-position. A caesarian-section delivery was required.
The mother looks down at her child. Despite the pounding in her head, the aching in her back, and the numbing of her abdomen, she sees the most beautiful creature in the world. She cannot fathom that she has brought this life—this breathing, crying, blinking, life into the world. She would do anything for that nine-pound lump of flesh. So this is what love feels like, she thinks.
CHICAGO – It is August 2002. There is a man on the corner of Canal and Jackson Street, right across from Union Station. He has a saxophone with rust on the lip of the horn, and a worn black instrument case sitting on the pavement.
He plays song after song on that street corner. Once in a while, someone will stop and drop a few coins into his saxophone case. He’ll smile with his eyes; the corners of his mouth will turn up, but he won’t stop playing. He never stops playing.
Sometimes a little crowd will gather—mostly made of tiny children pulling on their mother’s arms, or couples, swaying to the music, calling it romantic and lovely. But I’m not so sure if there’s anything romantic about poverty.
This man on the street corner wears a ragged sweatshirt and green cap on his head. It’s the middle of the summer, but that faded sweatshirt stays on.
His favorite song is “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue.
Do you ever wonder why some people have it so good?
Some of them have millions. Others spend their summer days on the street corners, every breath for a quarter.
LOVE – Is love real? What does love mean anyways? To tie ourselves fully? To tie a knot? To become one with another person in mind and body and soul?
Soulmates: An idea invented by online dating services that promises love for each user. Soulmates: Concept taken from Aristophanes’ Speech on Love that explains a process for creating offspring. Soulmates: The concept behind Adam and Eve—Eve was made from Adam’s ribs, thus they are joined both physically and emotionally.
Humans spend countless hours searching. There is that sense of incompleteness. There is that fear that you will never find another to complete you. We all want love so real that it can never be broken. Will we ever find it?
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
TIME – Every 10 seconds, an instance of child abuse is reported. Every hour, 78 rapes occur. Every day, 80 people commit suicide.
The clock on the wall ticks every second.
While you’re waiting for a shift to end, while you’re standing in line for your sandwich at the deli, people are dying.
Do you even notice?
RAIN – I am not drunk. I just love the rain. And what better way to enjoy something than to feel completely free?
Standing in the rain I am free from thoughts. I am free from judgments. I am free from insecurities. No one is here. I am alone.
What better way to enjoy something than to feel completely free? I am free from everything. Even clothes.
CHICAGO – June 28, 2012: The city of Chicago decriminalized marijuana.
I was walking down North Avenue Beach to the bus stop on Lake Shore Drive when I saw a homeless man with a sign. This sign was plain black sharpie on a faded piece of cardboard. It read:
Fuck a cheeseburger, I just want to get high.
TIME – There are 86,400 seconds in a day. There are 10,080 minutes in a week. There are 52.2 weeks in a year.
How much of that time is wasted?
None of that time will we ever get back.
LOVE – The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the industrialized world—750,000 teen pregnancies every year. According to the Center for Disease Control, one-third of girls get pregnant before the age of 20.
Love: a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another.
Love: a deep romantic or sexual attachment to another.
Have we lost what it means to love? Instead of giving our hearts, we give our bodies.
So many are bringing a child into this world so young…but who is to say this young mother can’t love?
The mother looks down at her child. She cannot fathom that she has brought this life—this breathing, crying, blinking, life into the world.
She would do anything for that nine-pound lump of flesh. So this is what love feels like, she thinks.
RAIN – Every minute, 1 billion tons of rain falls on the Earth.
A single droplet of water can move up to a speed of 18mph.
Before falling to the earth, a raindrop may travel thousands of miles.
I am standing in the rain and I am singing. I am singing and I am laughing out loud because no one can hear me. I am crying because I am both happy and sad. I am singing and laughing and crying because this life is so confusing and sometimes that’s all you know how to do.
In 2007, singer Rob Thomas released a track about life and rain.
He named it “Little Wonders.”
These little wonders, these twists and turns of fate.
Time falls away, but these small hours still remain.