Monday, September 16, 2013

After the Rain

            I am in that place—again—a place of uncertainty as I ponder what to do next. The change of season from summer to fall cause to me pause and reflect. Some seasons stand out more than others; this feels like one to rremember just like the one a few years ago when I decided to return to school, not because I needed to, but because I wanted to. And yet when I started school, I began to second guess myself. I remember my first night of class. . . 

            Thoughts of What am I doing? are interrupted by the carpeted footsteps of my classmates. Their nervous laughter tells me we are joined in thought. We crowd into an elevator heading for our evening destination, then branching out when we reach the first floor. The revolving door moans as I push my way outside. 

            Everything is damp from an earlier rain. The wind greets me, caressing my naked toes and legs before sliding up the sleeve of my denim jacket. The sky is an electric bluish-gray—a Jimi Hendrix song waiting to burst through. It smells like rain, really —not the bottled up kind we find in rain fresh house-hold products. I love the rain, but I like it much better when I’m inside watching it. I’m usually not prepared for rain, and today is no exception. I didn’t check the weather forecast—I never do. But this time I’m not totally caught off-guard because I had a cap and jacket in my car.  

            I thought back to when I got caught in life’s torrential rain. Politics forced me to change jobs, my relationship ended, and I moved back into the home of my child hood. Unprepared for the constant drizzle after the storm, I’d wake up every morning with the rain beating against my soul. This season is difficult for me because I lost my father and my sister during the fall. So I know the source of some my angst is seasonal, but some of it is also the anxiety that comes with embarking onto something new.

            Melancholy musings aside, I need to get started because I don’t have long. I turn on my cell phone and set my alarm for 7:20 because we have to be back in class by 7:25. As I lean against Bennigan’s picture-perfect planter of yellow, red and lavender flowers I feel the buzz of my phone against my hip indicating a text message. It’s my friend—she’s stalking me. The 411 will have to wait until I see her at work tomorrow. I know it’s about the kids. After all these years she is still amazingly passionate about her students. I wish I could say the same. The perfectly placed Hunts bottles on the left side of the Bennigans giant navy blue and white umbrellas adorning the outdoor café tables are a direct contrast to the day-to-day chaos of interacting with children.

            The night and I share the same subdued mood. People are alone in their private worlds on their way somewhere else. Conversation is minimal, and barely audible except for the guy who walks by talking on his cell phone. “Well, you know what, screw it. Don’t even worry about it.” The light changes from green to red and the screeching sound of a green and yellow checker cab in need of a brake job pierces the semi silence.

The sign on the side of a stopped CTA bus reads, “More Me, Less We”--an advertisement for Loyola University. I snicker and shake my head at the irony of it. Our growing sense of entitlement is why we’re in the predicament that we’re in, in the world today.

            The homeless man shuffles down the street like a Hurricane Katrina victim: his eyes downcast, his black wooly mass of hair matted and dreadlocked, his gold outfit shiny with dirt, the remnants of gym shoes covering his feet. 

It looks like he didn’t check the forecast either. But unlike him, I have shelter from the storm. I pray that it will always be that way.

A feeling of satisfaction feels me as I enter the building. I do know what I’m doing. Taking life to the next level, and when life drizzles on my dream, I know between umbrella of support and my raincoat of faith the sun will shine again.

While the sun has temporarily faded behind the clouds, and the rain of change drips into my life slow and constant like the leaky faucet in my bathroom, I know that it will not be ignored for much longer.  I'm stalling, but I will have to face it. And just like before, I know that after the rain, the sun will shine again.

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