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"The Rain Threshold" - by Jason Monios 

Jason (Ph.D.) lives in Scotland.


© 2006 Jason Monios


Abigail pressed herself against the wall, trying to maximize the limited shelter offered by the small overhang. She had been unprepared for the sudden downpour, and though at first she had tried to ignore it, the rain had become increasingly heavy and she decided to take what shelter she could and wait for a break. She was already quite wet, but she tried to ignore the prickly feeling of her drying skin contracting beneath her clothes. She held up one hand and examined her fingers. The prune tips were relenting, slowly smoothing out and hardening in the air.

The rain continued. No pedestrians were in sight, and the water pooled in recesses on the ground. She could hear it rushing through the gutters, flowing towards hidden drains.

She rubbed her forearms, breaking down divisions between wet and dry patches. When she looked up she spied a young woman across the square, walking slowly through the rain and making no attempt to seek shelter. Her hair was the first thing Abigail noticed. It was wet and ragged, looking like the fake straw sticking out of the hat of a Hollywood scarecrow. She had obviously reached the rain threshold, the moment where you become so wet that there is no point trying to avoid it any further.

Abigail's gaze was diverted by the sight of two small girls in full rain gear. They wore matching yellow raincoats and hats, complete with bright yellow gumboots sporting black trim. They stood facing each other in the centre of the largest, deepest puddle. Their faces were too tiny for Abigail to judge their expressions accurately; she saw only a look of determination, an infant concentration almost comical.


Then they started splashing.

With great industry the two girls assaulted the tepid water, and Abigail was unsure whether they intended to wet themselves or each other; in any case, both aims were fulfilled. Their game continued as Abigail watched, considering abandoning her partial shelter to make the dash for home. She was raising one foot, preparing to feel the first drops of rain on her partially dry face, when she heard a cry of despair that could only come from a mother.

A woman Abigail placed in her early thirties stomped towards the two children, a large handbag on one arm and two tiny school bags on the other. The weight of the luggage caused her to waddle from right to left as she impulsively stooped to snatch a tiny arm in each of her hands, her long fingers grasping the fugitive limbs securely.

Abigail was watching the defeated woman pack her dripping charges into her car when she became aware that she had a fellow spectator in the woman across the square. The woman's face appeared to display the same expression of delight that Abigail had seen on the children. The quiet patter of the rain was shoved aside for a moment by the sound of the car starting, and Abigail turned to see it moving out from the curb.

A flash of movement returned her attention to the square, and she saw the woman moving towards her. She took three quick steps and leaped with one foot forward. While airborne, she brought the second foot into line with the first and they landed side by side in the middle of a large puddle, sending sharply defined waves up and onto her already soaked dark linen skirt.

Abigail remained still, ideas racing through her brain. She had a sudden urge to join the woman in her activity, but her fear of embarrassment prevented her from acting on it.  Abigail watched her hop from puddle to puddle, cursing herself for her lack of courage. She continued to watch as the woman hopped further and further away, until she rounded a corner and jumped out of sight.

Still standing under the overhanging gutter, Abigail prepared herself to re-enter the rain. There was little point waiting for a break in the weather. She had to begin the journey home at some time, and the rain was unlikely to cease in the near future. She knew that she would probably curse her timidity all afternoon, but thought to herself that another soaking might help a little. She knew that her irritation would be eased by the time
she reached the rain threshold.




All work is copyrighted property of Jason Monios.





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