Rain Man

man standing in the rain picture

He stood in the pouring rain, holding out a plastic cup.  It didn't look like he was begging, because apart from a few inches of water he hadn't collected anything, and he was finely dressed.  I stopped, intrigued, and stared.  He saw me looking and then suddenly smiled: a great, big, friendly grin that caused an involuntary reciprocation on my part.

“What on earth are you doing?” I asked.

He looked at me, puzzled. “I'm standing in the rain.”

“But you're getting wet.”

“Yes.”

It was obvious that this fellow was a complete nutter, and I was about to move on when he said to me, “Would you like to join me?  There is plenty of rain for everyone.”

I shook my head, and hurried on my way to catch my train.  It was packed with damp, gloomy, commuters, and I got home late, tired and irritable.  Little Lucy greeted me at the door with her usual, energetic exuberant, “Daddy!” I picked her up and hugged her tightly, the day's stress gradually fading away.  Emma was preparing supper in the kitchen - I put Lucy down and went over to her.

“Hello, my love.”

She looked up, startled.  “Oh, hello.  I was miles away.  Had a good day?”

“So, so.  It's good to be home.”

“Supper will be ready soon.”

“OK.”

I turned to go upstairs, but then stopped, remembering the man in the rain, and seeing that it was still pouring outside suddenly changed my mind.  I took off my jacket and went outside into our garden.  The rain fell heavily, splashing me with great, fat, juicy drops from the trees overhead.  I spread out my arms and looked up at the falling rain.  Rain drops started like dust specks in the grey sky then rapidly grew as they fell towards earth.  It was glorious, and I stood there for ages like a daft egit, until my reverie was interrupted by a little voice from the doorway.

“Daddy, what are you doing?”

I looked at Lucy, water dripping from my hair and nose.

“Being a rain man,” I replied.

“What's a rain man, Daddy?”

“It's someone who does this.” That seemed to satisfy her.

“Can I be a rain girl?”

I hesitated, watching Emma cooking in the kitchen, then nodded. “Sure, why not?”

She squealed with delight and ran out into the rain.  She stood next to me, extending her arms in imitation of her old man, and we stood side by side drinking in the divine nectar.  Suddenly a stern voice spoke from the back door. “What in heaven's name are you two doing?”

I went over to my wife and wrapped my arms around her.  She protested at first but then laughed. “You're such an idiot.”

“Come join us,” I pleaded.

“Well I may as well now.  You've soaked me through!”

So there we three, of an early autumn evening, stood in the rain like three strange, exuberant trees.  No doubt the neighbours would think we were mad, but that day sanity didn't seem like a very fun thing at all.
short story