No More Rain

August 1, 2019 at 10:15 am (In Memoriam, Sweet sticky things, That's not funny...)

I’ve been putting this off for too long. My Brother in law says I need closure. The other day I was reading about procrastination, and it gave me the kick in the ass I need to to get this done.

I have always fancied myself a writer, but about the only things not self-published were my parents’ and older brother’s obituaries. I followed form, and submitted them to the newspaper, and they printed them word for word. I was sad but proud; I got published! It cost me a family member, but I could read myself in real print.

So I was kicking around the idea of an In Memoriam section, which would be a spot where my clouded memories could rest, and maybe inspire memories in others. I’m still going to do that, but I have something serious to do first.

I have to say goodbye to my dear sweet Rain…

Longtime readers have followed the adventures of Rain and I over the last decade. This month would be our ninth anniversary, August 15, 2010. It was hotter than dusty love, as Dad used to say, and her apartment had no AC. I brought the funk to work that day.

We met at my work, she was a customer I’d noticed. She was hard not to, a brash, huge-bootied black woman with exotic looks and hilarious comebacks. She stood at the porno rack, looking at a copy of Bootylicious. “Guys like this?” she asked, knowing the answer.

“They build ’em that big,” I said softly, running my hand over hers.

“I don’t even mind that you’re doing that,” she said with a naughty grin. The conversation moved on, to UTIs and upcoming fiftieth birthdays. After a while, we were chatting regularly.

One day, she was in the store with her friend Carolyn, and she said, “I’ve got a new apartment! I want you to come over.”

As she was writing down her address, Carolyn looked over her shoulder. “Are you crazy? You giving him your real address?”

Rain looked up and me, looked back down at the paper and said, “It’s about time I gave this man some pussy.”

I’ve still got that piece of paper around here somewhere.

Rain was always independent. Her mantra was “I don’t need no man.” While I don’t think that was true, necessarily, she did live as independently as her finances would allow. She was stubborn. “She’d chop off her hand to spite her foot,” my dad would have said if he’d met her. My mom would have loved her. She’d probably let Rain slide on the Jehovah issue; Rain’s god and my mom’s god were the same, but Rain’s god was more forgiving.

Our early years were a lot of fun. I’d visit her apartment before work, to make the day brighter. I’d head right there at lunchtime, take care of business, and be back to work with five minutes to spare, but more often ten minutes late. I’d be in such a good mood no one at work cared.

I wasn’t worried about my family liking her, or worried about the racial aspect. (Our household is based on a mixed marriage.) But… Rain did have some expensive habits, and I didn’t want a loved one to get ripped off. Rain might not do it, but her drug demons may not be as honorable. I warned people to not leave money laying around. It won’t be there when you come back. It was never a problem for the family, but she did take me a couple of times. We worked it out, and it sealed our relationship.

She lost her apartment. That’s where we would, um, socialize. We got more adventurous than kids our age oughta, violating public spaces and private. One Thanksgiving, after an early store closure, I made a false wall out of candy displays and we fornicated on the floor of the store in front of the cooler. The lesser-disgusting Portland Loos became our love shack, and we fooled around on the bench at Waterfront Park at least once.

I’d bought a single bed, twin-sized, joking “so Rain won’t try to move in with me.” She did anyway. We lost weight to accommodate. She was a huge-bootied 283 pounds when we met, she got down to about 120 and stayed there. I lost about a hundred pounds as well. We looked sharp!

Over the years the trust grew, and we shared almost everything. We had our own secrets, but we probably showed sides of ourselves to each other that no one else saw. She’d meet me late at night after work, and we’d ride the bus home together. We’d sit quietly alone, or take turns “bowling” on her smartphone. We had the comfort of an old married couple. It was nice.

When she got a new boyfriend, she told me. I’d had a feeling, and was glad she didn’t hide it. I was ready for freedom, and she said, “It doesn’t change a thing between you and me. We will always have us.”

It was true. We didn’t talk as much as when she lived with me, but we’d talk on the phone 2-3 times a week. She’d buy me medicines with her discount cards. She’d come by the store when she was downtown, but she’d moved two MAX stops from me. I’d see her on the platform, smoking and talking on the phone. I still look every time I go by.

Thursday nights became our phone date. I’d go to the Upscale Mall at lunchtime and call her. She’d be getting ready for bed, and half loopy. It was always fun and I still feel the void every Thursday night.

A few months back, we were talking about stuff, and I mentioned that I hadn’t been with anyone since her. I could hear her doing silent math; it had been a couple years, “Really? So… ya wanna come over?”

“I’ll be there in an hour.” It was forty minutes.

We’d go out after, holding hands and acting more like a couple than when we were a couple. I could be single forever if it were like this.

About four months ago, I was off work, wandering around stoned, having fun. I stopped by work, and SugarMama looked concerned. “A guy named Michonne called. He wants you to call him. I guess someone you both know has died.”

I felt a sick, hollow sadness forming. Michonne would only be calling me about one person. I called him back, and he gave me the news, She’d died about three days previous. That’s all anyone knew.

Rumors flew at first. OD rumors. Fentanyl rumors. “She ODed on benzos.” Bullshit, she didn’t do benzos. (Everyone who knew her knew this.) “She was found with needle marks and drugs in her system.” (Duh. She was a drug addict. I’d be more worried if she wasn’t on her usual maintenance program. Which included heroin.)

My belief matched that of the final results of the autopsy: She died of respiratory failure, either an asthma attack or heart attack. Fuckin’ cigarettes. And I would buy them for her sometimes.

Her death surprised me, and yet it didn’t. I knew she lived a fast lifestyle, but I also know she loved life and would never have hastened its end. I figured we’d have another 15-20 years of harassing each other in the middle of the night, whether in person or by phone.

I miss her more as time goes by. I got used to not seeing her all the time, then not talking to her every day. I’m having a hard time with forever, though.

We’d always said we’d try to contact each other if one of us went first. A few days after I’d found out, I started seeing her last name everywhere. Even the TV guide screen flashed “Parks and Recreation” over the entire grid. (Yeah, her last name is Recreation.) The weirdest coincidence that day, the bathroom security code at Safeway was her birthday. (No numerical reason or excuse.) If there’s an afterlife, she was there at the gates, waving, saying hey and letting me know she made it okay.

And now she’s probably busy as fuck visiting her son and mom and all the others who got there before her. And enjoying every minute, my little social butterfly.

I last spoke with her a few days before her death. It was much about nothing, and we signed off the way we always did. I’m so glad our last words were what they were.

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

“I love you, too.”

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