It never rains like this where I’m from. It’s all or nothing there. Where the sky will split open for days, swallowing the continents, putting oceans where they used to rest. There, we were always just barely afloat, and I never learned how to swim.
Here, I feel like I can still breathe between the raindrops and I sit out on our back patio and let the water soak into my skin and wash away all my sins. I know I’m not who I thought I’d be five years ago, but it’s not enough just to wish you could change, sometimes you just have to accept the way things are. Except who you’ve become. Where you’ve come from.
It was the day after my twentieth birthday when I learned that my heart would skip beats when I saw his face. My pulse would start and stop and disappear. I was fading and sometimes, he would make my outlines clear again, bring back the contours and all my shades and shadows. Small smiles would be awarded, unfamiliar to my face. He was my angel. A patch of dry land. A life raft. From there, I thought I’d make it. It was sink or swim those days, but I was managing. Surviving. He would save me.
When it’s dark enough, you’ll settle for any small light. He was it. He was everything and nothing that I needed. It was always too dark, but my eyes would adjust and he’d always look just right in my faded vision. I used to curl up in the middle of our four post bed and just practice inhaling and exhaling. It was a way to pass the time when he was gone. I never knew where he went, but I did know that he was the only thing keeping me in that place. In a city that was slowly dying from the inside out. The water pushing against its frames and flooding its streets.
Some nights it was enough to make me wonder if it was a mistake. If three words and a lifetime of promises should be enough to make me stay. But then he’d come home and it’d be enough. Even if the collars of his shirts were stained, and his eyes colored red. It was enough. He was enough. We were enough. It was us against a world that was going to swallow us whole and I was still young enough to not know the difference between when it was love and when you should just let go.
After a few weeks, I mastered the art of breathing and I learned that drowning was a whole lot less terrifying once you get used to the idea. He was gone for the sixth time that week and hell, when you only have seven days, that’s a lot. In the dark, I was learning to become my own light and he came home just to turn off all the switches and plunge us into blackness, just to tell me that it was the last time. The last time he’d come home. That last time I’d see him. It took me more time than I’m proud to admit to learn that he wasn’t going to save me, that he was the anchor that would hold me down, that would sink this ship. I was wrong. It wasn’t enough. He wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough. But I’d learn.
It took me a while to find a good teacher, but at the very least, I got out of that city before it collapsed in on itself under the weight of a million downpours. A lifetime of rain storms and clouded skies. When I met you, it was the first day, I could remember seeing the sun shine. It warmed my skin in a way that nothing had until the first time you held me in your arms.
It’s unlike me to fastforward through the good parts, but you’re the part that matters. You know the story and understand my past. You’re person who taught me that without the rain, we wouldn’t understand the beauty of a cloudless sky, that stretches on for days. We wouldn’t know how lucky we were at all.
It never rains like this were I’m from. Soft and calm. Just beautiful. I sit out on our back patio until you come back to me. Quiet and easy like a ray of sunshine. Lighting up my world. You wrap your arms around me and I realize that this home. This is where three words and a lifetime of promises is enough to make me stay, enough to make me follow you anywhere. Because this is enough. I’m finally enough. We’re enough.