Rain. In our everyday mundane lives, it is a nuisance. It usually happens the day after we wash our cars. It ruins our hair and our favorite pair of shoes. It makes things muddy and mucky. And in Los Angeles, people pray for it but can't drive in it.
I attended The Ohio State University. One of the first things you learn in orientation is that it rains a lot. So much that they recommend your first purchases for school should be a raincoat and duck shoes. It was my baptism into "preppy" which I enthusiastically attempted, embraced and in hindsight wholly failed and regret.
A recent post on Facebook triggered a memory. She had chosen to watch a romantic movie instead of football playoffs and was reporting her disappointment regarding the romanticizing of rain. She wrote that she had been caught in the rain, and had gone canoeing and that neither was a pleasant experience. She didn't feel that part of the movie was real or possible. She said she would get more pleasure in watching a football game.
It struck a chord deep inside of me. Clearly, she was doing it wrong. Clearly, she wasn't with the right person in that rain or that canoe. I have vivid, amazing, sensuous, and breathtaking memories of both. And if you have even just one of those moments too, it is a rare gift. It is not an everyday, ordinary thing. I suddenly felt grateful and humbled that I got to experience many magical moments in time that have become etched in my heart space as permanent sources of joy for my senses. It became very clear to me that not all people get to have that. Moments like those were indeed rare and fleeting. In fact, so amazing are these moments that people write scenes in epic romantic movies about them.
It was Spring break, and almost every student had gone off to the Florida beaches. The bustling tower of a co-ed dorm I lived in became strangely silent. My boyfriend went south to party with his friends, but I was a day away from going on tour with The Ohio State Scarlet and Gray Show. Mind you; this was when show choirs a la Glee weren't cool. Go Figure. Timing. One of these days I'll be right on-trend. A tour when everyone else is partying? Ugh! To top it off, my boyfriend was an arrogant narcissist who was cheating on me. My heart was broken in two.
One more night until I left on that tour bus. One night to feel the unbearable loneliness and silence of a life I was not ready to know was not bringing me joy. I was too busy pining away for a guy who didn't deserve me.
Walking down the empty halls to my room, I found the only other person left. He was a Resident Advisor and had to stay one more night because I was still there. What a job. He was tall and handsome with dark hair. He had kind eyes. We made small talk and soon were chatting away and laughing. I realized I hadn't felt so happy in a long time.
He asked if I wanted to take a walk on campus. We would practically have the place to ourselves. We took the elevator down to the lobby and walked toward the glass doors to the open courtyard. The air was cool and damp. He effortlessly whisked me up on his shoulders. Off we went down the sidewalk to the gorgeous campus lined with century-old trees and ivy-covered buildings. Then it happened. It began to mist. It was trying to rain, but it just started misting and then came a light and sweet rain. Gas-lit street lamps dotted our path and joy, and laughter filled my heart. I still remember the fresh smell of that misty rain. The coolness on my skin, the warmth of his broad shoulders and the pounding of my heart.
I did not know this young man, but I loved how it felt to be with him. I felt cherished. It was a far cry from the heartache hours earlier. We got back to the dorm, and he asked if I wanted to stay with him so I wouldn't be alone. I wanted that very much. He spread blankets on the floor and made sure we were separated. We talked late into the night. He never touched me except to hold me. He never kissed me or made any advances at all. He was like an angel. It was as if he was sent to soothe my broken spirit.
I didn't see him again after that night. I couldn't even remember his name, only how I felt.
One year later, I flew from a long USO tour in the Mediterranean straight to Florida to meet that arrogant ass of a boyfriend for spring break. I soon learned that he was seeing another girl in his circle of friends. It was icky. I ran off into the night to walk off my anger on a very crazy and crowded beach when I ran into the angel dorm guy! He hoisted me up on his back, my arms wrapped around his muscular neck, and we made our way down the crowded, crazy beach back to his room in a frenzy of chatting and laughter. I spent the night with him on the floor of a hotel room crowded with probably five other people. Nothing happened between us again. I was beginning to think I had a guardian angel looking out for me.
Years later, I learned that a rumor that became known as fact was that I slept with this guy and that my boyfriend could never forgive me. Technically I did "sleep" with him. And that was all. I did not end up with the lying cheating boyfriend who thought I was lying and cheating. I sure dodged a bullet there.
I never saw my angel guy again. Still, don't know his name. One thing I will always have is that misty, rainy night with a gentle man who raised the bar for how I should be treated. It was a brief snapshot in time that I think of every once in a while when it starts to lightly rain or conversation turns to cliche movie plots of people getting caught in the rain.
I ended up marrying a man many years later, who treats me like the treasure I am. One night we got caught in a torrential downpour while rollerblading and took shelter under a bridge. Let's just say that moment was one of many heart-pounding moments we would share and still makes him blush when I decide to take a stroll down memory lane. A very sexy, hot and steamy memory lane. No movie tickets required.
I'll have to save the canoeing stories for another time.
And swimming pools.