On certain days where everything seems just slightly out of place, there are strange moments in time that strike me as oddly distinct. In the offbeat and unusual qualities of these moments, I can come to realizations about myself and my attitude toward life. While these realizations don't really have a profound or groundbreaking quality to them, they help me rediscover many parts of myself I overlook and remind me of things I've forgotten in daily routine. It is this rediscovery that makes these moments significant as I experience them and causes them to resonate within me afterward.
September 28, 2018, around 3:50 p.m. was definitely one of those times.
As the school bus rolled around to my stop, I was really annoyed. I couldn't get my backpack strap over my shoulder, which meant I had to carry it on one shoulder and bounce around like a human bumper car as I made my way through the aisle to get off the bus. The fact that I kept tripping over outstretched feet didn't help lower my slowly increasing levels of anger. As the day's annoyances piled higher and higher, I felt like a pressure cooker about to explode. Needless to say, I was not in the best of moods.
After the bus dumped me at my stop and I made my way down the steps while saying "Have a nice day!" to the bus driver, I noticed there was something different in what was seemingly another dull and tiring afternoon. Behind me, I didn't hear any conversations or "thank you" to the bus driver. There were no footsteps that echoed mine and as I turned around, no people that got off with me. The bus with its screaming kids and petty arguments roared off into the distance, leaving me alone in what seemed like deafening silence.
The entire day, the sky had been a light gray on the precipice of drizzling. As I walked home, the long-anticipated rain finally poured over in light showers. At first, medium-sized drops scattered around the pavement but after a couple of seconds, everything started coming together into a small downpour. Standing in my driveway, I watched the rain spot the sidewalk quicker and quicker until everything pooled into one.
It was so silent in my neighborhood. The world seemed locked shut with their backs turned away from me. There were no sounds of conversations behind me to anchor me to any pressing thoughts about upcoming due dates. For the first time in a while, I was surrounded by complete aloneness. There was no one there to see or judge me for doing what I wanted. Perhaps that's why I stayed in the rain for a few more seconds taking in the peace and quiet that surrounded me. Just out of curiosity, I threw out my arms in the rain to see how it felt. And as I stood there savoring the refreshing feeling of raindrops pittering and pattering on my skin, I finally reached my epiphany.
I didn't really care that I was about to get drenched (or screamed at by my parents). For the past few years, I had constantly been dragged from umbrella to umbrella to avoid the rain. While standing under buildings and covering myself with books, I had always watched it but never been in it for the longest time. Showers and storms had always been treated like something untouchable and toxic. Adults found their own way to play the floor is lava but with precipitation instead.
And here I was, standing in the rain for the first time in a while. I felt like a child. It wasn't necessarily a feeling of happiness but a strangely profound feeling of liberation. Like I was picking up something I had lost years ago.
In the brief moment I had with myself, I realized that sometimes, it was okay to let go of myself and not care about anything for a second. With growing up came so many things I had to care about like grades, college, the future and success. Eventually, I began to avoid the simple pleasures of life like a rainy day. It took a strange day of silence and aloneness from these responsibilities for me to finally return to that childlike wonder and embrace it.
Though we all need umbrellas to keep ourselves dry, casting off those restraints once in a while can help us feel lighter and freer, less weighed down and trapped by our work and lives. I definitely felt that way.
After a while, a white truck drove by me, suddenly breaking the silence. I quickly put down my arms. I felt like a psychopath standing in a driveway in the middle of the rain, arms outstretched. Drenched and embarrassed, I picked up my stuff and went home. However, I believe I went home happier and changed. I view that rain as a blessing because it helped me see how to let go of myself and enjoy the journey, things I think all of us lose sight of once in a while.