It has been raining for three days straight. I’m five and she’s five and we haven’t been able to play outside in three days, which to a five year old seems like forever. We’re tight with pent-up energy, wild with harnessed youth, racing around her house and screaming at the tops of our lungs like monkeys. Her mom isn’t looking, so we sneak down to the cold garage and drag the bikes out into the downpour.
It’s August, so the air is heavy with moisture and it seems to move around us as we walk the bikes out into her driveway. The rain starts off gentle, soft, like the sky is whispering. And then it intensifies, growing stronger and stronger until the sky is screaming and buckets of water are coming down from the thick white clouds above. I mount my bike and she mounts hers and we pedal around her little black driveway, gathering speed and racing through water-filled ruts, soaking our shoes and pants. Within minutes we are both sopping, full of rain and laughter and the vibrancy of innocence.
The rain is warm and it feels good on my five year old skin. Her short brown ponytail, which is usually coiled in a little bouncy curl, has been washed straight and long down her back. Water runs down my face and into my mouth and it tastes sweet and warm and slightly metallic, reminding me of pennies and the flavor of wintergreen gum. I lick the moisture off my lips and smile.
The rain comes in waves, first heavy for a few moments, then light again. We take off our coats and boots and bike barefoot down her driveway, our bike tires skidding on the pavement which is slick with wet pine needles. We laugh and scream and race through the soaking downpour, feeling the warmth of the water and the pure energy and bliss of youth filling us up to the very top.