Midnight Overthinking, Random Thoughts

Shadows in the Rain

An Essay

Two or three years ago, I was sitting up in my bed in the middle of the night. I was staring out the window and thinking about a dream I had just awoken from. I was trying desperately to hold on to it, but it was fading away rapidly and I could only vaguely visualize what I had just seen so vividly a moment ago. 

I was alone on a wet, dirt-strewn sidewalk somewhere in DC. The rivers were flooding and the sky was an empty shade of grey. Barely anyone was around, and the streets were almost bare. Suddenly, I heard the faint sound of an acoustic guitar traveling toward me. I couldn’t tell from where, until I saw a blurry figure sitting on bench up ahead. As I approached, I saw the instrument, and heard the soft chords drifting from it. Soft, sad, lonely chords. As I walked by, I looked over, and a pair of ocean blue eyes met mine. I don’t know how, but I could instantly tell that those eyes had seen terrible things. And I thought I could see, just for a fraction of a second, a hand grasping mine, begging me to follow it and escape, away from some horrible disaster. I blinked, and then I was back in my little room in the suburbs, the midnight moonlight drifting through my window. 

I eventually gave up on my attempts and let the dream fall out of my grasp. The moonlight swept it away, and I laid back down to rest up for my trip the next day. 

I woke up to my alarm clock blaring in my ears, the bright yellow 6:30 filling up my vision. Unwillingly, I began to make my way out of bed and prepare for the long day ahead. The pioneers and patriots of St. Timothy’s American Heritage Girls Scouts had arranged to visit the monuments in DC, and I couldn’t say I had prepared very much. I started to pack my day bag, the dream of the previous night completely vanishing from my mind. 

The day seemed to trudge on, and we began to regret our choice to continue with our trip, even after that morning’s foreboding weather forecast. The sky was dull and dreary, and even our thick rain boots and ponchos couldn’t keep the floodwaters from soaking us through. As we walked the curving pathways up to the Jefferson memorial, I heard the faraway strumming of an acoustic guitar. Although I couldn’t remember where I might have heard it before, it sounded familiar. 

When we reached the steps to the monument, I saw a person wrapped head to toe in a heavy black raincoat, gently and solemnly plucking at the strings. The notes seemed to drift to the ground like feathers, quiet and soft. I subconsciously watched from a few feet away as the calloused fingers moved over the frets, when suddenly the person looked up, meeting my eyes. And in that moment, everything came back to me. The haunting blue eyes, the horror and exhaustion stored inside them, and, just for a moment, a hand reaching desperately for mine. As swiftly as it came, it was gone, and my friends pulled me along up the steps. When we returned, the person had left. 

Every once in a while, when it rains, I remember that moment. It seemed that we were destined to meet, the two of us. Even just for a single second. I believe that sometimes God above connects lives in some way or another in ways that will make sense one day. And though I doubt I will ever see that person ever again in this life, I believe that we will be connected again in some way, someday, because, nonsensical as it may seem, I don’t think things like that don’t happen without a reason. They know something about me that they learned when they looked at me, and that thing will one day unite us again. For now, I will be content to see their shadow in the rain. 

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