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Listening In The Rain

"The cold winter rain told a sad story, and I was listening."
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Listening In The Rain

I'm a good listener; always have been. Especially here inside the cemetery—just sitting in my truck, listening to the rain, hearing it tell the story, and waiting for Holly.

We don’t have nice winter weather around here, just cold and rainy. The only thing it’s good for is hunting, especially for deer. But I don't hunt—not anymore.

Winter became my favorite season after meeting Holly. I’d been driving home after wasting an entire Saturday morning down in the bottoms, freezing my butt off while failing, once again, to get that big buck just about everybody, including me, had seen at one time or another.

A car, it was an old raggedy-ass Plymouth Fury, was pulled over on the shoulder of the Barnwell road just about in the middle of nowhere. A woman was out in the rain trying to change a flat. I stopped to help.

That's when I met Holly. She was going somewhere to see somebody who was some sort of kin. For the life of me, I don't remember where or who. What I do remember is that even in an old brown raincoat, Holly, she said her name was Holly Vonne, was about the prettiest girl I'd ever seen. She had these big brown eyes, long, wet eyelashes and a cute little nose. I noticed it because there was a raindrop right on the tip. And even though her lips were a little blue with the cold, she had a smile that could start a forest fire, even in this rain.

I suggested she might want to wait in my truck but she stayed out in the rain, holding an umbrella over me, while I changed the flat. That’s when we got to talking. She lived a couple of hours away and was a senior in college. I told her I'd just graduated and was teaching English at the local high school.

With all the rain and mud, it took awhile to change that tire. And I’ll admit, I wasn’t in a big hurry. I didn’t want her to just drive out of my life. But I’m no ladies man and couldn’t figure out what to do.

After I’d put everything away and slammed the trunk shut, she insisted I get in the car with her and share some of the coffee she’d brought along.

The rain had stopped by then. Before getting back in the car, she took off her raincoat and pitched it into the back seat. Even in a bulky sweater and jeans, you could tell she had a slender, eye-catching figure. So being a gentleman and all, I tossed my gear into my pickup and crawled into the passenger seat of her old Plymouth.

God, but that was good coffee. Black with a little sugar and still nice and hot. We talked and talked, had another cup, then finished off the coffee.

Later, while she was putting things away, it started to rain again. We both stared at the rain through the car’s fogged-up windows. Then we looked at one another. And just as I reached out for her, she slid over beside me.

We made love to the sound of the rain drumming against the car. It all seemed so natural, so right.

A few weeks later, when I asked her to marry me, she said yes. Our wedding was on a pretty day in June, but rainy winter days were always special for us. Now, well, now they just remind me of the weather on the day I killed her.

It was overcast and raining. I'd been hunting all day and she’d come to pick me up. But I was late. So she put on her old brown raincoat and walked into the bottoms heading for my deer stand where, just for a second, I thought I saw that big buck and then, and then, that's when I killed her, killed my Holly.

Now I come out here, listen to the rain tell the story and wait for Holly. I keep the motor running so the cab will be warm when she comes. And she always comes. We sit together here inside my old truck and talk and listen. And then she wraps me in her arms and whispers in my ear and we make love. That’s when it’s almost like it used to be. Later, much later, when it begins getting dark and she has to go, that’s when we both start to cry.

Only she's late today, or maybe I got here early. I'm not sure. Time doesn't mean much anymore. The thing is, I'm getting a little sleepy. So I'll keep the motor running, but maybe close my eyes for a minute. I’ll rest easy knowing Holly and I will be together soon, like we always should be. Only it'll be here in the cemetery, inside my truck, in the cold, winter rain.



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