At first, I thought it was my dreams that had woken me up at 3:00am last night.
See, in dreamland, I’d suddenly sprouted a new finger below my old finger, much like one gets a new tooth below a baby tooth. In fact, I also was suddenly sprouting a new tooth. Concerned, I tried to get a same-day appointment at a health center, but was told that I had to be there in ten seconds or would have to wait a few hours. With my old finger dangling precariously and my old tooth looser than a caught thread, I ran through the building’s doors…only to find that I had run into a mansion, and the fastest way to the hospital was to run through the mansion, opening doors as I went. So I did, and the mansion’s owner, who was in a wheelchair, seemed to know me and kept pace with me, saying he’d close the last door behind me. I got to the last door, which was through a closet, then turned around and said to the man, “Well, doesn’t this feel like The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe?”
“Go!” he hollered me. I unbolted the door and went through, trying to shut the door behind me but managing to catch the man’s nightshirt in the door. I tried to reopen the door but he was holding it shut. “Just go on, I’ve got it,” he said, muffled. I was in the middle of the hospital — apparently this guy had a secret access door he didn’t want people to notice, lest they think it was a bathroom or an office and constantly be trying to get into it.
Anyway. I thought that was the reason I woke up. But as I shuffled over to get a glass of water, I suddenly heard something glorious. It was the very light, very familiar yet not oft heard sounds of rain tapping. On the ground. On the building. On cars below me. I stuck my arm out the window and sure enough — there was a steady drizzle.
Let’s just say trying to sleep for the next few hours was hard. I kept waking up, making sure the rain was still pattering, and drinking lots of water because darn it if the kale and nutritional yeast fest I’d had for dinner hadn’t left me parched. At 6:30 I finally got out of bed and got dressed slowly, knowing I’d want to wait until it was light out to actually go running. On went the famed tight workout pants. On went a slim t-shirt. On went a jacket and a headwarmer.
At 7:00am, I left my apartment. The hallway smelled faintly of weed. “Someone is wake and baking on this rainy morning!” I thought gleefully. As I moved down the stairs, each floor the scent became stronger until I realized that the foggy-headed people were actually transients sitting on our stoop.
“Good morning!” I bellowed to them as I came outside.
“Heyyyyy,” they replied.
“Oh my god, girl, are you going running in the rain?” the woman said, while the man took another hit.
“Yep!” I said, getting ready to start my iPod.
“Don’t get sick! Oh, you’re crazy. I’m gonna worry about you!” she said.
I smiled, assured her I’d be fine, and thought about how freaking lucky I was to be able to take a rain run and know I could come home and be dry. She didn’t seem to have that luxury. I said a small prayer of gratitude, then let Al Jackson and State of the Reunion lead me into an hour and twenty minute run.
It was glorious. The rain fell softly. The rain fell less softy and beat on my face almost like hail. The rain fell softly again. I dodged puddles. I grinned at the very few other runners who were out. I powered up hills as though I’d been given a turbo charge. I let the rain hide my tears when a story came on about the Sacramento Kings (seriously, if you like sports at all it will make you choke up). I let the rain cool me as I got warm. I thought about how I felt truly hydrated for the first time in as long as I could remember.
And back at home, I did indeed have a hot shower waiting for me.