I don't take the bus out to my Metra stop much anymore.The Shining Camry shines for me. I'm spoiled.
But yesterday was a big, busy day for the Knight — as all Thursdays are — so I traveled westbound with my people again. Like the mechanic who wears a uniform with a name patch, the red embroidered cursive making "Gus" look as elegant as it's going to get, who gets on at Albany and gets off at Pulaski to wait for his southbound bus. The high school students. The landscape workers. The woman who works at the printer at Kostner, who wears the same three or four shirts every day, always with a denim button-down over them. The few haggard, suited drudges joining me on the long journey toward the suburbs. It was nice to see the riders, in a way, familiar faces I used to see every morning. But I was not happy about the bus ride. The early wake up. The extra steps. The lack of time for breakfast. Everything. Whine, whine. It's what I do. Because I'm spoiled, and on top of that? Of course it started raining and turned chilly the first time I had to brave the elements in weeks for my commute. Of course.
Yesterday was a big day for the Knight and me as a couple, too. Not a good day for my hair to frizzle in the humidity, for my little suede flats to get soaked in a West Side puddle. (Or for me to punch a thumb hole through my stockings…but that wasn't until later.) My parents met the Knight yesterday. But dammit, our reservations were for four, and the rain made five, as far as I'm concerned. (Well, six if you consider the 800-pound, 48-year-old, twice-divorced gorilla in the room as one of our guests.)
It was a big day. And the rain was not welcome. As I stood waiting for the train, 10 minutes early and shivering in my thin black trenchcoat — like everyone else standing on the platform, but with bigger hair — I decided to like the rain. Watched it drip off the eave of the shelter I stood under. Let cold raindrops bead up on my soft, moisturized hand and roll down my thumb, like a little ladybug or a fuzzy caterpillar just exploring my skin. Stared at the puddle across the track and smiled as the rings that formed and spread with every drop got gobbled up by the next, over and over. It was comforting, actually, and I forgot the bad for a moment. But my fondness faded as soon as I got off the train, back into the rain. The stress of my frizzy hair and my long trip downtown, and everything that could and would happen inside the warm, dry restaurant flared up with every passing cloud and scattered shower.
Really, I have nothing much to say about the meeting. I knew the storm I was walking into, and I had a feeling it wouldn't be pretty. (Remember that long, long letter to my mom from a while back? Yeah.) A girl can dream of a sweet silver lining on those clouds, but sometimes, no matter how cute your wellies are, your feet will still wind up soaked. And all the polka-dotted umbrellas in the world can't save your hair from sucking. Someone is going end up rubbing someone the wrong way, and suddenly I'll find myself splashing around, calling myself a Communist from the sidelines in a flailing attempt to be the divine meteorologist, to swing the radar back to me and diffuse. Pass the biscuits, please.
It's still raining today, though it's tapered off from last night's torrential downpour into scattered sprinkles and, eventually, a fine mist. But it's no more welcome now that the stormy stress of the big event has passed. It's easier to be mad at the downpour and my bad hair and my useless polka-dot umbrella than to try to figure out why I felt so cornered and uncomfortable last night, why everyone couldn't just pretend to love each other and deal with the temporary animosity later, after the wine glasses were empty and everyone was warm and comfortable in their separate beds.
When I put everything else out of my head from last night, after my family reluctantly realizes the Knight's almost full-time glory and sees that it's in their best interests to fully endorse my delirious happiness, I'll still remember the rain. How dramatic. Okay: the rain, and the macaroni and cheese. A soggy umbrella, wet shoes, and parmesan and cream, with curly pasta, roasted tomato, bacon and fresh herbs.
Maybe my shoes will be dry when I get home tonight.