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Fiction

As a young child, there was nothing I loved more than mucking about in the many puddles that formed in the driveway after a hard rain. Or, just standing there as the rain fell, with my mouth wide open, catching the droplets on my tongue. As an adult, there's just something so incredibly cathartic about just being in the middle of a rainstorm and letting the water wash over me, cleansing the darkest of sins, and making the world look beautiful again. Even if only for a moment. The neighbors watch me standing on my front lawn, collecting the drops in a bucket. They think I’m crazy. If only they knew. I have found the magic in the rain. 


   The rain starts slowly, steadily increasing in intensity. The sound of the wind driving it in torrents from the low dark clouds provides some relief from the voices in my head. Like the white noise that comes from having the tv or the fan on when I’m in the house at night by myself.


 I'm looking for a spot to pull over and collect the rain, but I have to wait for just the right moment. I’ve been studying the magical properties found in rainwater. The rain that comes from a windstorm is known for aiding in leaving the past behind and moving forward. But it’s the stuff that is collected during a lighting storm that has the greatest power to clear and cleanse one’s energies of negativity.


I’m an empath. I absorb the energy around me. Because of that, it’s sometimes difficult to remain positive in a world so full of negativity. Watching so many broken people trying to navigate their way through the tangled maze that is life. Lately, I’ve been finding it especially difficult to remain sane at all. The media seems to be so full of stories of natural disasters, epidemics, personal tragedies. Its sensationalism. It's what sells. I should know, I’m part of it. A big part. I’m a reporter for a major news channel here in New York.


Suddenly I feel so alone and overwhelmed. I rub my belly. I’d only found out I was pregnant just before Peter died. He was a writer, a journalist, and the love of my life. He believed that what the world needed more than anything was the truth, and he'd made it his mission to spread that truth through his writing. He’d been sent overseas to cover the conflict in the middle east. Tragically, his plane crashed on the way home and there were no survivors. We hadn’t told anyone about the pregnancy. And now, how can I? I’m not even sure I’m going to keep it. Peter was always such an optimist. Together he felt we could really make a difference in this world. But on my own? How can I even think of bringing a child into this world?


People are staring as I suddenly jump to my feet, spilling my hot coffee everywhere, and bolt out of the crowded office. I’m driven by this sudden need to get away from everything. I have to find the magic again. And so, I get in my car, and I just drive. Following the rain.


I’ve been driving for some time now. It’s time to pull over for a rest. I find a nice spot with some trees, and I open the windows breathing in the scent of the air. Ozone. Sweet Ozone. There’s definitely a storm coming. The first smell to arrive, before a storm hits, is ozone. Molecules containing oxygen are split apart by the storm’s lightning, and the individual oxygen atoms recombine to form ozone This ozone is carried down to the ground by vertical winds and pushed ahead of the storm. Ozone has a sharp smell, similar to chlorine. It’s almost time.


I must have fallen asleep. I’m startled by the sound of thunder and someone tapping on my window. Rubbing my eyes, I see a rather strange-looking woman staring in at me. Judging from her rather pasty white complexion and thinning grey hair, which she has pulled back tightly at the sides, and tied into a peculiar-looking ponytail, I would guess her to be in her, mid-fifties. The outdated bangs, which she keeps trying to smooth with her fingers, seem to confirm that. She is wearing the ugliest, loose-fitting, tye-dyed, dress. Rolled up at the sleeves. And to top it all off, she has a funny-looking hat perched at a rather jaunty angle on her head. A fedora of all things. Oddly enough, it suits her. I wonder where she’s come from. I look around. It’s a deserted area with nothing but miles and miles of evergreens ahead. There is no sign of another vehicle anywhere. I don’t remember having driven so far into the woods. I think about it for a minute before I roll the window down further. She looks harmless enough. "I'm Eleanor," I say, extending my hand to her. There’s an awkward silence as she stares intently at me for what seems like minutes.


You’re looking for the magic,” she finally says.


I look at her spellbound.


“The magic that comes from the rain.”


I’m intrigued. How can this strange woman possibly know what has brought me here? I need to know more. Stepping out of the car I follow her as she motions to a small clearing in the woods. We stop walking and suddenly she reaches out and touches my stomach, chanting something in some sort of language I’m not familiar with.


“Daire,” she says.


“Daire," I repeat back?”


“Yes,” She continues. It’s a rather uncommon name but it's one that's rooted deeply in Gaelic history. It's pronounced. “Di Re” or “Diary” Long ago, legends were passed on from generation to generation through the written word of our ancestors. Their diaries. It was Peters's Grandfathers' name. And now it will be your son’s name. He will fulfill your husband’s mission to make a difference in this world through his writings.”


“My son? I rub my stomach. I’m having a boy. I smile at the idea of it. Peter would have been so proud.


“Yes, he would definitely have been proud.”


She seems to know my every thought. This is just so strange. Surely, I’m dreaming.


“He will be born on a rainy day,” the woman continues. “Just like this one. You must collect the rain immediately after his birth, and baptize him in it. It will give him the strength he will need to carry out his mission in life. You just have to have faith and let the rain work its magic.”


“But, how? How can I possibly have such faith in a world so broken?” I wait for her to answer but before she can say anything there is a huge clap of thunder and a bolt of lightning so bright that it lights up the entire sky. I'm temporarily blinded. When I can finally see again, she's gone, and I am back in my car wondering what just happened.


It’s eight months later, and the rain starts slowly, steadily increasing in intensity. My beautiful baby boy has just been born. I didn’t even have time to make it to the hospital. I pulled over the car and he was born on the side of the road. It was the exact same spot where I had met that mysterious woman. I remember her words and I find a small container to collect the rain. I stare down at my little boy laying on my stomach. He’s perfect. I pour the rainwater gently over him and wash away the remnants of childbirth. “Daire,” I smile. And for the first time in a long time, I know that everything will be okay. I just have to have faith in the magic of the rain.






September 23, 2021 03:20

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Alice Richardson
00:22 Sep 28, 2021

I like it.

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