Haven’t done Magpie Tales for a while but I do love any image of the rain so I couldn’t resist this one.
I just wanted to preface this story by telling you it is based on something a girl from my writer’s group told me. She has been seeing a guy for about 3 months. She suffers from anxiety and depression. She told her boyfriend about her anxiety. At first he had a go at her, basically saying she had nothing to be depressed about, especially now she was with him. And then he left.
Real life is much more extreme than fiction.
Here is the fictional part –
The rain was gold-rimmed. Dark gold vintage bracelets. Falling through the light. Early autumn rain, still warm from summer but no longer coloured by her fair-headed fingers. Topaz, auburn instead. Like maple leaves ready to fall.
Beth loved and hated autumn rain. It slid so easily down the glass with its bare, flexible feet, almost intrusive. Pliable, supple as youthful hands shaping clay.
She loved it because it made her smaller than she was. Rainy days, rainy days full of coffee and books; forcing her inside where she could no longer see the vastness and reach of the sky. Containing her spirit that was wont to wander and dream too easily. Making her finish tasks she could not tackle in the sunshine.
Beth hated the autumn rain because it is where she lost Gil. She remembered as he walked away that the rain fell sweet and salty down the window pane and the drops were so thick she could see them in the mirror on the opposite wall. Glass reflecting glass like some kind of necromancy.
She could count them one by one in that mirror on the wall that had seemed so unremarkable before but was now a magical thing full of rain and light.
She thought of the song Little Girl Blue * –
‘sit there and count the raindrops falling on you
it’s time you knew
all you can count on is the raindrops
that fall on little girl blue.’
Beth was blue.
Her fingernails had the faintest lustre of it.
As if they had been dipped in shadow.
People didn’t know it, but the shadows were blue not black.
And under certain circumstances the shadow seeped into every part of you – right in, deep – every cell full of the dense, blue velvety mix of it.
And when that happened, when the blue began to absorb into your very soul, you became a creature of melancholy and light; half blood and bone, half blue.
Beth lost him because she told him.
One night he found her, unable to sleep, staring out at the autumn rain, the drops blue in the night, tinged with amber.
Are you sick? he asked. Why can’t you sleep?
She told him then. Of the anxiety, feeling it, living it, chasing it into the thickest shadow only to have it run back, inexorable, tainted.
The bite of it, the clutch of it, the panic setting in that nights would never be what they were again.
The colour of it.
Most people are afraid when they realise the shadows are blue.
How can you be anxious when I am here? He could not look at her for staring at the shadows. You are not alone. You are loved. You have no need for anxiety.
You have nothing to be anxious about.
Nothing but the draw of the days and the rise of the light. And knowing so much, but oh, so little.
And the sights and the sounds. And the awe-filled moments. So many, so few.
And the rain, don’t forget the rain, filling the sky with the sublime.
Some people are afraid when they realise the shadows are blue, pulling like roots in sand.
Gil was afraid. Of the shadows. Of anxious thoughts. Of long, blue nights.
Beth watched him walk away in the autumn rain, the night rain, the blue rain that fell slow enough and soft enough to be counted.
She sighed, she cried.
He was gone. Lost to the dark air.
She was smaller than herself, younger than herself, the colour of the rain-filled shadows.
The shadows that fell, a comfort, like a hand held.
Falling on little girl blue.
*Lyrics from Little Girl Blue by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers.
Copyright © 1935 Williamson Music and Hart Publishing Co. USA.