My favorite Sundays were those when it rained. On those days, she’d bring her umbrella, dark gray with a wooden handle, slightly bent on one side. We’d fill that umbrella with rain and empty it over our heads, laughing as clean, untouched drops of water poured down around us like a shower of molten beads of glass and crystal. The sound of the rain echoed in our ears, both gentle and firm, comforting and endlessly rhythmic. Then we’d run down to the lake and skip stones in the water, the ripples we made joining the ripples of the raindrops as they hit the smooth surface. When our hair hung limply around our faces and our clothes were soaked, we’d run to the tree at the end of the lake, our tree, and prop the umbrella up on the lowest branch, securing it with her scarf.
We’d run to the ice cream place at the end of the street and purchase one scoop each. Mint chocolate chip for her, pecan for me. We’d dash back outside and race to our tree, laughing as the rain stained our ice cream and our ice cream stained the rain. By the time we reached the tree, both cones would be a soggy, sticky mess, but we’d eat them anyway, dry under the umbrella, then rinse our hands in the overflowing lake. We’d jump into that lake without hesitation and race to the other side. It wasn’t deep enough to swim, but we waded in and ran across the sandy bottom, our flailing limbs sending up crowns of water all around us as we laughed and struggled to get ahead. The winner would decide what to do next.
Sometimes we doubled back to the umbrella and sat under it and talked. Sometimes we played two-way tag in the park. Sometimes we snuck into a movie at the theater or ran to the playground and clambered onto the wooden swings, riding them so high that it felt as if we’d break through the rain and brush against the clouds. We climbed to the top of the slide and rushed down along with the roaring rain water, shrieking in our own personal waterpark.
Sometimes we just walked to the café on the end of the street and watched the rain for hours on end from the corner table by the window, the one that felt like a separate world. It was a silent pastime, but the silence wasn’t the awkward type that scrapes and screeches past like coarse metal, nor the overwhelming kind that presses down on a room even after it is shattered. Instead, it was a third presence, a connecting fiber between us, safe and comforting, like a blanket of calm, too strong to be broken by a whispered word here and there, by the corner of a smile. Sometimes I feel like there are more types of silence than there are sound.
I'm a high school senior from Millburn, NJ.