Stepping Out Before the Rain Has Stopped

(Photo by Patricia Wilden)

We’ve all done it.

You’re on the High Street and it starts to rain. Strike that, it starts to pour. You find a shop door to stand into and you shelter there. You wait and watch the rain pummel down onto the pavement. From your place of cover, you watch all the other people either dashing for their own shelter or continuing to brave the deluge regardless. After a while you get bored and you check out the merchandise in the shop window. Any bargains? Any oddities? That also gets boring quickly so you start to scan the skies for signs that the shower will pass. There’s a bright streak up there, in the west. All should be better soon. The rain eases. Then people start emerging from adjoining shop doors where they have also been sheltering. With newspapers over their heads, they hurry onwards late for their appointments. You twitch a bit. You’ve been in here for too long now. Time is ticking away.

It’s time to go now. It’s time to go.

To hell with it. You go.

You dash out into the world again and it’s better, it’s far better than it was when you first ran from it but here’s the thing…

The rain is not over.

Not yet.

You march along. The sky is brightening, and it feels like it might yet become quite a nice day. But there’s no avoiding the obvious. It’s still raining hard and you are getting wet. You are getting just as wet as you would have been if you’d never stood in out of the rain in the first place. All your good sheltering work has been for nothing because you are now as wet as you could be.

Five minutes later and the rain suddenly stops. The sun bursts out. Wiser people who hung in their doorways for that crucial extra few moments now emerge, businesslike and dry.

You carry on. You squelch and the papers under your arm are soggy and falling apart. The rain got you in the end. You jumped too fast.

Yes, folks, you guessed it. It’s ‘Tortured Metaphor’ week again. Don’t they come around faster and faster as the years go on? It’s spooky really. And you’ll see where I’m going with all this rain palaver. We’ve known each other long enough at this stage. We know all our little ways. There are few surprises to be had. Let me spell it out for you though. Mostly because I’m not up to my word-count yet and I have nowhere left to go. Hell, I’ve even done the weather.

There’s a feeling that the rain is almost over, isn’t there? Christmas is coming, it feels like Christmas, doesn’t it? We can get together, as Bruce Willis said in that Christmas movie, and have a few laughs. We can forget about our troubles and be like we were. After all it’s the Holiday Season and the rain is nearly done.

But it isn’t done yet, is it?

If we all run out in the last remains of the shower and dance around, as we long to do, we may end up just as wet as if we stood out there all of that time. And we didn’t stand out there. We sheltered and sheltered until every item in that bloody shop window was known to us inside and out and we could recite them all by rote. Still, we stayed and stayed. We did good.

Are we really going to get drenched now and, in drenching ourselves, drench the people closest to us too?

There’s a definite light now, in the western sky. Can you see it? You must, It’s right there.

But it’s going to be a little while yet before it gets here. Before the rain truly stops.

So, hold on. Don’t get yourself soaked right at the end. That would be quite the shame.

Particularly now when a brighter day is so near.


Pattycake said...

Photograph: 'Balanced on the Horizon' - Patricia Wilden.

Jim Murdoch said...

Carrie and I have been so careful this last year in fact, in the last twelve months, Carrie’s been outside only twice, once, to look at an injured bird in our backyard and, oh, to move house and I doubt she was outdoors for more than five minutes in all that time. I’ve had to go outside more often, to put bins out and such, but even there I’ve only been in one building other than one I owned in over a year. Why would we let our guard down now? I’ve noticed a lot more people wearing masks here than in the streets around the flat. I find that reassuring. I was surprised to read that 90% of Scots wear masks conscientiously but not displeased by that fact.

It’s been estimated that the total dead, wounded and missing on all sides on the final day of World War I was 10,900. I wonder what the figure would’ve been had the bugle sounded at ten o’clock and not eleven or, maybe, nine. Or, for Henry Gunther’s sake, just two minutes earlier. The war was over, that particular war, but it wasn’t long before there was another one. In fact in 1918 alone we had the Adubi War, the Finnish Civil War, the Georgian–Armenian War, the Hungarian–Czechoslovak War, the Polish–Ukrainian War, the Armenian–Azerbaijani War, the Estonian War of Independence, the Latvian War of Independence, the War of the Insane (seriously, that was thing) and the Franco-Turkish War not forgetting about various disputes, conflicts, uprisings, revolutions, rebellions, mutinies and skirmishes that no doubt saw an end to the lives of dozens, hundreds and even thousands of people. The war against COVID-19 will come to an end. Who the winner will be will depend on your perspective. But threats won’t end there. I got a letter a couple of days ago inviting me to get a flu jab this year because this year’s flu is not the same as last year’s flu nor will it be the same as next year’s. There are currently six known strains of coronavirus—L, S, V, G, GR and GH—and who’s to say COVID-21 isn’t marshalling its forces as we speak?

Roberta B said...

I can almost taste the brighter day.

Thanks, Ken.