dancing in the dark

I like to stare at a lamp until my irises have contracted down to small periods, then I go into the bathroom, shut the door, turn off the lights, and then get into the shower. I’ll sit in the middle of the tub, my legs propped up, and the water falling onto my head. I’ll plug my ears with fingers, close my eyes, and listen with my inner ears as it turns the falling shower water on my skull into the unmistakable sound of a summer storm. If I move my head and body forward and back I can create the sounds of the storm receding or advancing…starting as a few errant drops with a crescendo to a torrential downpour.

They don’t sound like LA storms, they sound like Texas ones, and with my eyes closed I envision the storms of my youth that you could literally see advancing down the street towards you. I don’t see that anymore. I’m not sure why. Maybe I’m just not out playing in the street like I used to be; or maybe it has something to do with Los Angeles, and how when it cries, it cries all at once and everywhere. Back in Texas, though, you could see the advancing clouds in the distance, you could see the pavement growing deeper gray at the end of the block, and see it creeping towards you, you could hear the pitter-patter of rain drops and see the rebounded water jets on the street advancing towards you. And then you were in it, your t-shirt becoming first polka-dotted and then simply soaked. It was warm and it was exhilarating; punctuated by the crack of lightening and the clap of thunder.

I see all of this in my mind’s eye at the bottom of the tub and I relax.

The shower rain sounds different in Los Angeles, or Virginia, or China, or Japan…but it always takes me to the same place.

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