The Tapping of the Rain

Rain music taps on the dining room window. The soothing percussion transports me to mom’s olive green Cougar, on the way to an eighth grade school day.  I can hear the sound of the wipers.  I can smell mom’s Wrigley’s spearmint gum.  I can taste my anxiety.  

Mom drove Sue and me to school if it rained.  It wasn’t that I minded getting wet.  I have always loved the smell and the sound of rain, and the way it feels on bare feet.  I have always loved the dreariness of rain.  But, in those tender days, the beauty of the rain was overshadowed by one of my biggest fears, a fear that only curly-haired girls know – frizz!

Hair frizz would send me running to the girl’s bathroom mirror before homeroom, and then again after algebra and before lunch.  It had the power to transform my worthiness, to completely change how I was perceived.  Or, at least I thought it did.  I remember waking up before the sun, so that I could use the Remington hot-comb to make my hair straight and sleek, obliterating any sign of its natural inclination to kink.

I regret how ugly I was in my imagination.  My old school pictures tell a different story now, but the stories I convincingly told myself then made me hide.  They made me try to blend in.  They made me shrink into myself.  And, they gave me a gift.  They gave me a lifetime’s worth of empathy for the unkind voices other people dance with. 

The tapping rain on the window sooths me now, washing away stray lingering unkindness.  I am back in this room, sitting on the sofa, writing this for you while I wait for my freshly washed hair to dry, on its own, curly and free.

6 comments

  • Peatrice

    Peatrice

    Oh, I can relate! Thanks for bringing me back to those days and the dreaded frizz! For me, it was orange juice cans and a puffy blue hair dryer hat. Today, I embrace and encourage my curls.

    Oh, I can relate! Thanks for bringing me back to those days and the dreaded frizz! For me, it was orange juice cans and a puffy blue hair dryer hat. Today, I embrace and encourage my curls.

  • Denise

    Denise

    You made me smile Peatrice. I remember using giant rollers and a hair dryer too. You and I could have been great friends back then. Here's to the curly-haired girls.

    You made me smile Peatrice. I remember using giant rollers and a hair dryer too. You and I could have been great friends back then. Here's to the curly-haired girls.

  • alisa

    alisa

    Such funny perspectives we all had as young girls... I was always so envious of you curlies. I too remember those giant bubble-head hair dryer things, which my mom sat me under with curlers and dippity-do in my stick-straight baby-fine hair to try and coax it into waves (which only seemed to last about an hour anyway). It's true the grass is always greener!! :)

    Such funny perspectives we all had as young girls... I was always so envious of you curlies. I too remember those giant bubble-head hair dryer things, which my mom sat me under with curlers and dippity-do in my stick-straight baby-fine hair to try and coax it into waves (which only seemed to last about an hour anyway). It's true the grass is always greener!! smile

  • Denise

    Denise

    Dippity-do! I forgot about that. You and right Alisa, the grass is always greener. I envied the straight haired girls. I feel compassion for that version of me now. I put myself through a lot of needless judgement. Thanks for chiming in...

    Dippity-do! I forgot about that. You and right Alisa, the grass is always greener. I envied the straight haired girls. I feel compassion for that version of me now. I put myself through a lot of needless judgement. Thanks for chiming in...

  • harry

    harry

    i like that rain and 'the grass is always greener' both showed up in this writing... i love rain, but not always the smell of it. sometimes it stirs up settled smells like the mulch pile during the muggy aftermath of a summer rain. the farm manure smell, which is sorta pleasant until it rains, then it gets overwhelming for me. but mostly i hear rain as music; random notes improvised into ambient meditation music. i always feel better when it rains. (i always wanted curly hair)

    i like that rain and 'the grass is always greener' both showed up in this writing... i love rain, but not always the smell of it. sometimes it stirs up settled smells like the mulch pile during the muggy aftermath of a summer rain. the farm manure smell, which is sorta pleasant until it rains, then it gets overwhelming for me. but mostly i hear rain as music; random notes improvised into ambient meditation music. i always feel better when it rains. (i always wanted curly hair)

  • Denise

    Denise

    Hi Harry, I like the way you describe rain as random notes improvised. I like to play to the rain or to bird songs or wind. Nature provides the best music. I love the smell of rain, especially in spring and summer. I don't quite know what it is, but it lights me up like the ocean does. Oh, and it is good to know that someone else thinks manure smell is kind of pleasant. There is a comfort in it (up to a point!) Thanks for writing in...

    Hi Harry, I like the way you describe rain as random notes improvised. I like to play to the rain or to bird songs or wind. Nature provides the best music. I love the smell of rain, especially in spring and summer. I don't quite know what it is, but it lights me up like the ocean does. Oh, and it is good to know that someone else thinks manure smell is kind of pleasant. There is a comfort in it (up to a point!) Thanks for writing in...

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