What is one of the weirdest things you’ve ever experienced?
It was raining.
In itself, it wasn’t weird. Rain was a part of life. The skies opened all the time, pouring their pent-up energies back into the earth to nourish and refresh.
The sun was shining as the torrent fell. That wasn’t weird either. It often came with clouds but sometimes it came with sun. The only constant was that the rain was always expected and always welcomed.
I’d never questioned why we expected the rain. It seemed foolish to ask. No one seemed to mind when they were suddenly drenched from above. Their sighs were happy, grateful, never indignant. Even when the rain seemed temperamental, starting and stopping multiple times in an hour, like a child playing with a tap.
Sometimes the rain would hide the sun for days. People stayed drier during those times, because their umbrellas never closed and their boots were always on. Only the dry spells were met with anything other than mild interest. The rivers and wells never fully dried out, but there was always an uneasiness that came when the rain stopped.
We’d been through the longest drought in recent memory. As we watched the edges of the lake bed grow longer, we wondered if this time was really it, if the rain really had gone away. The disquiet grew, but still we expected the rain.
People began avoiding the lake. They couldn’t bear to see the reminder that the rain had been gone far too long. My curiosity or boredom, strange how often the two go hand-in-hand, got the best of me one afternoon and I went to see how much lower the water was. I was not alone.
There was another girl standing barefoot on the cracked clay, staring out to the mountains on the far side of the lake. The sun was beginning to dip between them, casting her in an orange glow. Her silvery hair floated around her dark frame like water. She was a stranger to me, and yet she was familiar.
“I wondered who would come,” she said, her voice gentle like a babbling brook. She turned to me and smiled. The oceans were colorless compared to the blue in her eyes. “What is your name?”
I opened my mouth to speak but the words caught in my throat with my breath. I coughed to cover my stumble. My tongue was twisted. Still, I managed to reply. “Maya.”
“Maya,” she repeated, a leafy drop of dew into a cool pool. My name rolled across her lips like a wave breaking on shore. She seemed pleased with the taste of it on her tongue. “Such a lovely name.”
My head was in a fog as I watched her begin to twirl. “Who are you?” I asked, my voice barely carrying on the breeze that seemed to envelop her.
She stopped, tilting her head to one side as she observed me. Her hair continued to billow as if she were suspended not in air but in water. “I have been selfish it seems,” she said, her smile sad. “I’ve been gone so long that my name has been forgotten.”
A pang of guilt stabbed my chest. I was not the only one who had forgotten, but I was the one there before her in that moment, bearing the burden of it. “I’m sorry,” I weep. I didn’t believe I had any tears left.
A dark, slender arm beckoned me. Tender fingers caressed my cheeks and absorbed my tears. “My child, I am the one who is sorry.” She brought my head forward and planted a kiss atop it. “There is no need to cry anymore. I am Anat. I have come home.”
Her name is a waterfall in my mind. I try to remember where I’ve heard it as she turned toward the lake and the setting sun. She danced until she disappeared. And then the weirdest thing happened.
It began to rain.
Notes: I saw this video recently that looked like someone was pouring a bucket of water into the middle of a street, but the camera panned up and there was nothing up but a grey and dismal sky. I’ve never experienced anything quite that weird, but it put the idea in my head of a localized downpour in an unlikely place. That turned into this weird little tale about a girl meeting her village’s rain goddess upon her return from a sabbatical of some sort.
This was fun to write. I hope I was able to convey the imagery in this one. I love water aesthetics and Anat is probably one of the clearest images I’ve ever had of a character in one of these drabbles. Maya and Anat both have water-themed names. To Anat, it might have seemed like fate that Maya was the one to greet her.
I almost had this finished earlier to post, but then my internet cut out for a little while and took my music with it. Not that I need my music to finish a post, but it meant I was more easily distracted by my cat and my husband. So much for getting to bed before midnight though. Maybe tomorrow! Have a great Wednesday! See you soon!
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