It was raining. It was raining for the 17th consecutive day in a row. She yearend to enjoy it as much as her best friend Jane did. Jane felt like the best version of herself on days when the skies hung grey and rain soaked the streets and sidewalks. She longed for that joy that Jane felt, as she sipped her earl grey tea in a corner of the coffee shop, reading her book and watching the caffeine addicts come in for their morning fixes. Enablers, she thought to herself, eying the barista behind the counter slinging lattes. She thought about Jane and her red polka dot umbrella and matching raincoat. Jane never worried about the frizz that would find her hair and force it grow to wild and unmanageable proportions. Jane was never bothered by her wet feet or soaked backs of her jeans on her ankles. The things that people with straight hair don’t have to worry about, she thought to herself, scrunching up her massive mess of curly red hair in the window’s reflection, secretly jealous of Jane’s love of the rain. And her straight brunette hair.
She, on the other hand, craved the sunshine. She longed for the heat. The rain made her feel entirely too much. She worked hard for the unbreakable, positive outlook she was known for and the sunshine fueled it. But the rain? The rain just washed it away, just like it did the sidewalk chalk drawings the neighbor kids made the night before.
Attempting to find some peace with her hair and the rain, she nestled into the overstuffed blue patchwork chair in the back corner of the coffee shop, staring out the window as the rain pummeled the green leaves on the birch trees. Her cat was next to her, in her purple Jansport backpack. Sir knew better than to poke anything out of the backpack other than an occasional paw, as he wasn’t technically allowed in the coffee shop. The baristas knew he was there, but they never said anything. They all had this rather unspoken agreement that Sir could stay, as long as he was quiet. And stayed in the backpack.
She watched the leaves grow greener with each drop that splashed on them. She listened to the water patter on the roof above her. She did love that sound, the one single aspect of the rain she found rather enjoyable. Holding tightly to her mug, legs pulled under her for comfort, she tried to talk herself into the “cozy” day the rain would bring. She wore her favorite oversized sweater, softest socks and yellow rain boots. Sir had dawned his yellow rain coat as well, complete with holes for his ears to stick out of, and was snoring from the backpack on the table beside her. Urging Sir to quiet down, she continued her mental list. She could work on her writing today. Or finish the book she’d been nursing for weeks. She was trying not to think about how she wished she were on the beach or drinking peach iced tea on the swing outside. It was hard to find a reason to smile on a day like today. Just like the rain made the flowers and grass grow, it made her anxiety grow as well. The rain made her feel. It made her feel too much. She wished she were alone at her house listening to the rain fall on the roof shingles, rather than in the coffee shop. But it wasn’t her house anymore.
From the outside, the place she used to live looked rather unassuming. The paint was faded and chipped from wind exposure. The windowpanes were slowly pulling away from the exterior. It was one of three houses on a one way, dead end street. To most, it seemed like just an odd house shaped like an upside down letter U that overlooked the sea. But, to those who had a chance to be a part of it’s story? It was much, much more.
Two years ago, right before she moved into the little dome shaped house by the sea, she was quite shocked to learn of how many people had a story to share about it. Joyous exclamations and nostalgic smiles met her from those that had the pleasure of spending some of their time there, “I did yoga there! I rented a room there for a few months! I remember having coffee there.” With excitement, she and Sir and their carload of meager belongings and set out for their winter adventure to housesit at what two years later, lovingly and affectionately became known as “the dome home.”
I became the best version of myself there. She thought, fondly remembering. Hot steamy French press coffee and the most exquisite, stunning sunrises met her every morning. Sir spent his days lounging in his own wingback chair, watching the world saunter past. Friends came to visit and shared the French press coffees and the sunrise views with her. She finished college at the wobbly card table in the kitchen, although she figured out the perfect placement of dishtowels under the table legs to fix the unsteady shake. She learned to be a writer in the creaky, wooden rocking chair in front of the wall of windows that looked out over the mountains and the sea. She settled into herself there. She learned that she was wholly and beautifully herself in the walls of that house. That house became a part of her being. And she became a part of its.
Her tea was cold and the coffee shop was getting too crowded with the after church crowd. So, she and Sir spontaneously decided to take a rainy walk toward the little dome shaped house by the sea, something they hadn’t done in quite some time. She closed her book, finished the last swig of her cold tea, put on her rain coat, slung Sir’s backpack on her left shoulder and set off down the rain soaked road. As she rounded the corner onto the one-way street, she saw it. It was dark. And gloomy. And all of the curtains were drawn, and cinched closed. Clashing with tears that were fiercely winning the war she was fighting with them, she exclaimed in utter dismay to Sir, “The little dome shaped house by the sea deserves so much more than these shady curtains closed in front of the windows. The windows should be open! Because that’s how the light gets in! Who would do such a thing?” She was heartbroken.
Sir meowed in agreement, raising a paw to the bay window he used to spend most of his time in, but quickly retracted it as it was getting wet. Both of them shed two tears that day, a tear for their memories and a tear for the house’s current state. “Whoever lives here now is missing out on so much light. And joy,” she muttered sadly to Sir, yearning with all of her heart to go inside, open up all of the windows and dance on the hard wood floors once again. Regretfully, they turned around, wishing they never came back at all.
Leaving the driveway and the memories behind them, they carried on along the road and made their way to the beach, as it was not far from the little dome shaped house. Standing on the beach, watching the waves gently caress the sand through the raindrops, she and Sir started writing a letter. “It’s only way I know how to bring closure to all of this,” she explained to Sir. He extended a paw to her soggy cheek in support.
The letter read:
Here’s to you, little dome shaped house by the sea. Thank you for helping me heal. Thank you for helping me to become a better version of myself. Thank you for being there when I rescued Sir from the pound and for being there when my Jane’s heart was breaking over her lame boyfriend. Thank you for being there when I cranked up the Beatles and danced with Sir when I turned in my last college essay. Thank you for being there when I was lost, and when I was found. And to those of you who get to be a part of it’s story next, please never take for granted one moment you get to spend there. It’s a place of healing, peace and joy.
She signed it and Sir placed his mud covered, sandy paw on it as well, adding his own endorsement. Together, they situated the letter in an old root beer bottle and chucked it into the sea. The rain had come to an end and the sun and blue sky were starting to parade their way through the clouds. For it was time to take what the little dome shaped house by the sea had taught them and advance forward. Gazing up at the bluff one more time at the little dome shaped house by the sea, she whispered “thank you,” unleashed her hair from her ball cap and she and Sir made their way down the beach, heads held high towards the sun.