Saturday, May 17, 2008

Rain Rain Go Away

It was a quiet Saturday afternoon.
The morning had been normal for us, filled with shopping for the week and meeting up with friends. We ventured into a motor scooter shop to make a check-up appointment for Mimi and to look at the new offerings. After walking around a bit in the high humidity and high (for May in Berlin) temperatures we were ready to go home to our traditional Saturday mid-afternoon nap.

Soon after arriving home we tumbled into bed exhausted. I was so tired I couldn't even read before nodding off. The head hit the pillow, the eyes closed and I was down for the count. Two hours later I woke up in my normal way... completely awake knowing that I would not be able to go back to sleep and of course two hours should be enough anyway.

The window at the foot of the bed was open but as it had been all day not a breeze was stirring. N. continued to asleep so I thought I would take the opportunity to read a few chapters. Soon I was on my stomach over an open book, my head where my feet had been shortly before to get full advantage of the sunlight filtered through the gray clouds coming into the window.

As I sat in the stillness of the day, sounds of the neighborhood started filtering into my ears. Birds were twittering, children playing, the unmistakable sound of a bicycle ticking as it maneuvered slowly along our quiet little street outside the bedroom window.

With a little concentration I began to understand what the children were saying as their voices echoed off the hot brick walls of the neighborhood buildings into our 4th floor bedroom window. A very young one took a tumble and began to wail the cry of the inconsolable as a similarly young mother tried to dry his tears. Another pair of voices belonged to a pair of older girls playing in the sandbox across the street. One was telling the other in an authoritative tone exactly how to go about building a perfect castle for the prince.

The pages of the book again grabbed my attention and soon the noises of the neighborhood faded into the background. Until the voice of the authoritative sandbox girl exclaimed that she'd been hit with water and blamed the other girl for it. Slightly harsh words were spoken which ended when the unjustly accused young lady let it be known with a degree of anguish mixed with relief that she now had a rain drop on her arm. Within seconds the young mother could be heard gathering her baby chick and getting the day's toys together for escape inside. Once again the young one was crying about the unfairness of it all and I suspect he knew that he was headed inside for a much needed mid-afternoon nap of his own.

The noise of a car drowned out the cries of the cranky child as it came down the street and parked. Doors were opened and closed as the voice of a man in a disgusted tone could be heard exclaiming that they should hurry to get inside because the line of rain could be seen, and it was coming their way.

About that time the afternoon's first breeze sneaked into the window carrying with it the smell of newly-wet hot concrete. Slowly the sound of a downpour could be heard as it hit the terracotta rooftops of the Hauptstadt. The leaves on the tree outside our bedroom window were stirring for the first time of the day. First as a result of the cool breeze, then with the pitter patter of large raindrops landing on the newly budded and fresh growth.

As the rain began coming down in earnest I lay there on the bed thinking about days in my youth spent standing inside staring out at the incessant rainfall wishing to go outside and play. One of those window sessions was broken by the advance of my mother who quietly came up behind me and softly asked what I was doing. In my best grownup voice I let her know that I didn't like the rain and that we had enough of it, and I didn't see why it had to rain so much when I really just wanted to be outside.

The farmer's daughter in my mother came out when she sweetly began explaining about all of the things rain did for us, that it was what we drank and bathed in and how without the rain humans, animals, and plants would not be able to live. The full scope of my four year old obstinance came out once again when I said that the story was nice, but that I just wanted ONE afternoon with no rain, then turned with pouting mouth back to the window to watch the drops fall on grass where I wanted to be playing.

She sat there in silence for a moment or two and began to hum a tune. The first time she went through it I tried hard to ignore what she was doing, I just KNEW she was trying to find a way to cheer me up, and I wasn't ready for it yet. When the song began repeating I turned to her with the standard look of questioning in my eyes. The next lilting and fun-sounding chorus came up and she began to sing out loud, "Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day".

This was the tune rolling through my head this afternoon, my mother's 75th birthday, as I eventually rolled around onto my back, the book forgotten, strolling down the memory lane of a time oh so long ago.

No comments: