Face the Rain
Of course it was raining. A decorated arbor stood drenched with wilting roses, their petals falling by the handful to the wet grass. Meteorologists predicted severe thunderstorms with up to four inches of rain. Of course New Englanders never trusted weathermen; there were far too many cases where they called for snowstorms and hurricanes and all that turned up was a light dusting in time for Christmas or a passing raincloud.
But Katherine new her bad luck all too well. She sat in her pajamas every night for two weeks in front of her flat screen television and watched the news at ten o’clock for the weather reports.
“There was nothing we could do at the last minute,” Katherine’s Mom, Nora announced. “It was inevitable.”
Red wine poured generously into two glasses. Katherine took one and imbibed a lavish amount, careful not to spill on her ivory gown. Rhinestones jeered at her as she took another sip.
“I don’t understand. Though there is a lot not to understand here. Hopefully our guests forgive this dramatic turn of events.”
Katherine stared out of the kitchen window at her old backyard. The rain pushed down on a rental tent where a swing set used to rest. Long, lazy afternoons used to consist of a little girl laughing, swinging, and sliding. Those days disconnected and broke into unrecognizable particles of memories. Yesteryear was now replaced by a tent under torment as it protected empty chairs and unlit candles.
Nora placed her glass of wine on the counter. She said, “Not all is lost. Sure the flowers are destroyed, but everything can be fixed. Everything.”
“I know.” Katherine said. She looked at her disappearing drink. “I need more wine.”
More liquid faith splashed into Katherine’s custody. Outside, the sky cried harder.
Chinese lanterns swayed under tree limbs. They were drenched and deteriorating. Katherine remembered a time where her parents threw a luau for her birthday. Hal was there, celebrating his girlfriend turning twenty-five. He had a scotch on the rocks with Katherine’s Father. They laughed as ice clinked in the tumblers. Orange and white Chinese lanterns swung seemingly out of their own will in the same fashion. Katherine wore a pink dress and had her hair professionally straightened. Hal complained that her natural curls would be forever ruined by this. She laughed him off and kissed him on the cheek.
The night of Katherine’s birthday party was now over two years ago. She remembered the sparklers in her cake like tiny explosions of joy and the strawberry frosting Nora made from scratch. The amount of sweetness was perfect. Hal had pulled Katherine away from the confectionary heaven to give her his gift. He got down on one knee, stuttered over fresh tears, and asked Katherine to spend the rest of her life as his partner.
Memories rewound and played again like a vintage black and white movie in Katherine’s mind. They overplayed until gray and faded.
“More wine?” Nora asked. She looked at her daughter and sighed. “I think you can handle one more. Then we will get you out of that dress and you can relax.”
“I’m all set, Mom.” Katherine put her glass down and stared at the red semi-circle left on the rim from her lipstick. “Time to face the rain.”
After standing up, Katherine felt a slight head rush from the alcohol. She went towards the front door. In a moment, her hand touched the doorknob.
“What – where are you going?” Nora followed her daughter.
Katherine shook her head. She laughed. “I’m going outside.”
“You will ruin your gown.”
“There is nothing to ruin here, Mom.”
The porch was slippery. Katherine left her five-hundred dollar shoes on the first step down. In her ball gown, she felt the cold rain kiss her face. It trickled through her natural curls, down her neck, and over her shoulders. She walked in a slow march to the arbor. Rose petals were scattered like dreams along a lifeline.
Her pain was dull now; numbed by a chill in the air and a blurred buzz from drinking.
“What a bastard,” Katherine announced. Her blood began to boil.
Without hesitation, she pushed the arbor as hard as she could. It fell to the ground with a thud and met its muddy demise.
Katherine turned to face her mother in the doorway and smirked, which turned into a whole-hearted laugh.
“I feel better now,” She said, and headed back inside where her dress would be hung to dry.
Live, Laugh, Love