A Handful of Rain

You came home with a wheelchair loaded with groceries and a smile loaded with determination.

We had sigh-talked for awhile about having a night of junk-fueled indulgence, and you’d decided its time had come. We’d saved up enough to order up a long night’s stock of comfort food: pizza and chips from our favourite takeout, a fresh six-pack of Dr Pepper. And to top it all off, the oversized & overpriced tub of cookie dough ice cream that we’d always lingered over at the grocer’s but couldn’t pinch enough pennies to spare for until now. But you insisted tonight wasn’t going to happen without the cookie dough.

And so we settled in on the couch and continued our Buffy DVD marathon (already several seasons deep) with so many episodes in one stretch that there was light outside our window by the time we stopped, our bellies stuffed and our throats sore with hours of laughing, loving, ridiculous geek-out conversation in between the breaks. We might have spent more time on that than on the show.

Tonight we gave ourselves permission to be the adults that we thought we could always be as kids, the ones who could spoil ourselves as rotten as we pleased when we grew up without anyone to stop us. Tonight we were reveling, indulging in ourselves without frugality or apology — and perhaps planning for and allowing ourselves that was a truer and deeper pleasure of adulthood than the indulgence itself.

Then you looked at the morning that stole up on us and said, let’s go outside and just — breathe.

So we did.

It rained during the night, and the morning air was cold, but quickening and clear. The sky was smudged over with pink. I wrapped my arms around you under your sweater and squeezed your shoulders as I took in as deep a breath as I could of the morning, of Dublin, of you.

As we headed back in, you had a hand wet with rain from the garden gate, and you cupped my head in your dry hand and pressed the other lightly to my cheek, right as I stood at the threshold with the warmth of the heating behind me and the crisp courtyard chill ahead. That bracing touch teased out a sense of a sharpened edge of ice forming in my cheek; the full press of your palm lingered on the balance of the thaw until cold became warm and I closed my eyes and couldn’t feel where I ended and you began.

And in that moment, it seemed that no other moments in my life had mattered, but that they all somehow brought me here to be with this man, in this city, in this home — with you and your handful of rain.

— Dublin Journals, July 2006