Saturday, March 14, 2009

Portrait Of A Woman

Raindrops splashing through the window screen scattered into a mist of fine drops lying on the window sill. Pressing her nose to the screen, the woman looked out of her room into the cool of the landscape and storm. The dry pungent odor of the screen mixed with the cool damp smell of the rain freshened grass and caused her nose and throat to tingle in an unpleasant way that was somehow hard to resist.
The gutter tapped softly as the rain finished its descent, pinging against the sides of the spout. The gurgling water rushing through the downspout began to rise in a cacophonous din of splashing and tapping. The woman listened to it as the mixed odors of metal and moisture brought her to the point of sneezing. Her eyes watered from the acrid scent and the memories of childhood, a time when she had trouble reaching the window sill to press her nose against the screen, smell the odors and hear the rain dancing and singing in the gutter.
Turning from the window, she took a small cloth lying on her bureau and sponged the screen-filtered moisture from her face. She walked slowly out of the room, giving a quick tug to the bedspread as she passed. She paused at the top of the stairs, wishing for a moment that she could perhaps slide down the bannister. Shaking her head sadly, catching a quick glimpse of age, she walked down the steps and through the living room, pausing occasionally to straighten and pick up. Reaching the front door, she went outside onto the porch and stood at the railing. Feeling the rain splash against her face, she lifted her arms in an almost supplicatory gesture, turning her face towards the sky, opening her mouth to taste the rain.
Her clothes became soggy as she stood there and they began to paste themselves with a gentle suction to her skin. Water trickled from her chin, splashed onto her chest and slipped lightly between her breasts to tickle her stomach. Her long hair grew stringy and plastered to her head and back. The woman laughed as the sun broke through the clouds and painted a rainbow across the meadow and trees before her home.
As if the splash of color across the sky were a signal, she kicked her shoes away, ran down the steps of the porch and out into yard and through the front gate. Crossing the narrow dirt road she leapt across the ditch and into the tall flowers of a broad meadow. Dancing and twirling through the soggy grass, she bean to sing as the rain slackened to a soft shower and the sun escaped the clouds further to brighten and embellish the vibrant colors of the rainbow.
Suddenly, she laid down on her back and watched the rainbow shift and shimmer through the misted rain. Shutting her eyes, she remembered how she had once laid in the rain, a shower of long ago, and had lain naked with a handsome young man who had loved her. She smiled gently, welcoming the memory and wished she could see and touch that young man again.
Rain mixed with tears, and she stood. Slowly walking back to the house, her arms gliding silently by her sides in a half-forgotten waltz, her face glowed with the deep warm smile that good memories bring. Reaching the house and sitting on the top step of the porch, she hugged herself, feeling the chill of the approaching evening. The memories, while pleasant, held a sadness and she began to grow cold as the sun set behind the dissipating storm.

No comments:

Post a Comment