- Laura Altieri
All I Know
It was one of those rainy days that I had always hated. It was the type of rainy day where the rain is too timid to make itself fully present. I looked outside the window of a familiar classroom, breathing in the outer grey surroundings. The bell had rung about three minutes ago, but no one was anywhere near starting the class period. Focused on the miniscule rain drops accumulating on the large windows, I drifted. I had always had a love-hate relationship with the rain. See, I loved the kind of rain that had power. A true, heavy, soaking rain was the only kind of rain that I could tolerate. This rain, however, angered me. Why exist if you don’t make yourself known? My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a classmate announcing to the rest of us, “Oh hey, it’s raining.” Exactly my point. I continued to look both out the window and at the window itself. The only thing I ever wanted to do in this weather was write, or sleep, but mainly write. A tap on the hand brought me back into reality once again, as I looked over to my friend, the tapper. He pointed to our teacher who decided it was finally time for him to begin. “What are some rhetorical devices used in this poem?” Silence. “Anyone? No? Gia?” Of course. “Alliteration, parallelism, and anaphora,” I replied with apathy. “Well you seem very enthusiastic today.” “Thrilled.” The remainder of the period went by, and I truly couldn’t tell you what the topic of conversation was. As I walked out the door I felt a hand on my shoulder, and I abruptly turned around. “Talk to me, what’s up,” the voice of a person I didn’t want to be thinking about, let alone talking to rang in my ears. “It’s just the weather.” “It’s not just the weather, though I’m sure it’s a factor.” “I hate when you act like you know everything.” “But I’m right, am I not?” he inquired with a side smirk. I turned to face forward as we continued to walk down the sardine-packed hallway, yet to have answered him. We arrived at my next class when I decided to speak. “Can we go to the beach after school?” “Gia it’s raining.” “I’m well aware; can we go to the beach after school?” “I mean I guess, but why?” “Because you owe me this, that’s why John.” I walked into my next class and carried on throughout the day, trying not to pay too much attention to the tedious drops. After school, I waited for John in my car as my windshield wipers went to work. The parking lot was full of scrambling people trying to get to their cars while simultaneously saying goodbye to friends they’ll see in a couple of hours. Just get in the car. My thoughts were rudely interrupted yet again that day by the sound of a fist banging on my passenger’s seat window. I let John in my car, and we drove off in silence. Bob Dylan’s Hurricane came on shuffle as I drove down West Neck road to a beach that resembled a pile of rocks. Here comes the story of the Hurricane, the man the authorities came to blame. I would rather have had a hurricane than what was being unsaid right then. We pulled up to the edge of the sand, and I got to it. “You know the expression ‘when it rains it pours’ that people always quote on twitter?” “I do, why?” “It makes me mad because it isn’t true. Look at a day like today, it rained and rained and rained and not once did anything pour from the sky. People use the expression with such a negative connotation, but Jesus Christ at this point I just want it to fucking pour.” “I think I get what you’re saying, but please just be explicit at this point. What do you want out of me?” “How come with you and I it never pours, John?” He turned to look at the water in the distance, and I could tell he was really thinking about it. I continued. “For years you have given me these little signs of hope, these small things to hold onto, building my hopes up, building up this enormous cloud, and at the end of it all it becomes too heavy to bear waiting any longer and everything begins to trickle out.” “You know how I feel about you. I don’t do well with verbalizing that, and you know that as well. So forgive me if I don’t handle myself properly at times.” “How many times have I blatantly made it clear that I want something to come from all of this? I need you to give me a reason to be here right now. I need it to pour out because I don’t know how much more of this I can take.” “I… I just don’t know what to say. I’m not good with relationships. I mean I kinda wish I was, but what am I supposed to do?” “Just try.” He nodded, and I could tell it was time to leave. A thought from earlier that day popped back into my mind: Why exist if you don’t make yourself known? What good are feelings if they aren’t fully professed? What good is someone who only half stands for a cause? What good is rain that only does part of its job? We pulled back into the school parking lot so John could get to his car. I unlocked the door, waiting for him to exit, but he didn’t. “I’m sorry about the weather. And I’m sorry I can’t be the rain you need. But know you deserve someone who knows how to make it pour." He exited, I drove away, and after a while the rain stopped altogether, leaving its grey behind.