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Hard Rain
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Inside the meeting room at the clinic, we can barely hear over the rain falling outside. We mostly have the stillness of the desert. Dry. Parched. Then the noisy monsoon comes to wash us away. In minutes whole roads are flooded. Roads washed out and gone. People floating down the arroyos trapped in their cars. Warnings. Signs along the washes all say to avoid use during heavy rain. But the rains come in an instant. The gun metal clouds that threaten for days finally deliver on their promise. But they’ve been teasing us so we don’t take the warnings.

Now I’m worried that James won’t know the danger. He’s got a cowboy spirt and might say what the hell, I can make it across. He has a truck, but you don’t drive a vintage Ford for tough. You drive it for style. And style is no match for a monsoon flood.

We await for the arrival of our families. We’re all nervous, the air electric with our nerves. I don’t want this family meeting and no one else does either. Yeah, they want to see their kids or their wives or whatever. But this gathering is a real one. We meet with a counselor and talk like families. My guy has worked with me to be ready to admit to James what I’ve never told anyone. Except my guy. James is in danger and I have to stop him. I will admit to what I’ve done.

I get some water from the machine and gulp it down. I refill. I’m not thirsty but I need to do something and they purposely make this room empty to make us suffer. They probably don’t do that. But there’s nothing here. Nothing to look at except the veil of rain outside. A moving curtain of gray. The smell that comes with it is a balm. They call it the smell of rain and it’s in my heart now even though I wasn’t born here.

Shea told me about it the first time it rained when we were together. Just a shower, but the smell of rain came just the same. I don’t want to think of Shea. She’s on the other side of that rain. I don’t want to feel the pain of missing her or the hope she gave me while I pretended to be normal.

The outside lobby of the clinic fills with voices, first a few, then more, then the rain pelts heavily covering them up. But the rain passes and I can hear James joking and laughing with the families. Here comes my family.

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