The daring spring sunshine felt like summer in full swing, even though it was only mid-February. And I ended up drenched and freezing. But I remember it as the most beautiful rainy day I’ve ever experienced.

We drove to Best Buy, and shopped a bit. Both of us were dressed in shorts and tank tops, it was so unseasonably hot outside. I had just moved to Fort Worth—Euless, actually, transferred by American to their headquarters. He came down from Kansas City to spend the weekend. We split our time between seeing the sights, house-hunting and drinking in the unbearable sweetness of being alone together.

Anyway, we couldn’t decide on a purchase, so we left. On the way to our car, the sky turned black within seconds and the Texas thunderstorms poured down upon us as we ran, laughing hysterically, to my red ‘99 Mustang. By the time we reached the car and dove inside, we were soaked—I remember I had the hiccups, I was laughing so hard, sticking out my tongue to catch the raindrops dripping from my nose.

We scrambled into the dry warmth of the car, shutting the rain outside, but the staccato beat was still almost deafening. So loud and nonstop. We couldn’t even see the car next to us, the raindrops were so close together.

He turned the key, and my Shrek soundtrack started playing again. It had been playing when we drove up to the store before. “My Beloved Monster and Me,” from the Shrek movie—which had just come out. In fact, we had just recently seen the movie and adored it. He gently brushed a dripping tendril of hair from my face, cupped my chin in his hand and said, “That’s got to be our song”—and kissed me. It sounds really hokey to say it, but at that moment, I got totally lost in his brown eyes. Time seemed to pause, as if there was a “rest” written into the minutes composed for that day. He was listening to the part where it says,

“She will always be the only thing
That comes between me and the awful sting
That comes from living in a world that’s so d___ mean.”

And we knew. We both just knew.

At the time, I laughed and asked how I was supposed to wear the coat with 4 sleeves. But I was touched to the very core of my being. Because I knew that he meant the world was waiting for us just around the bend. The endless stresses of raising teenagers had finally ended. We had completed our obligations of raising the last of 11 children, (5 of them mine, 6 of them his) and were on the threshold of beginning our lives together—that wonderful empty nest that parents work so hard to experience.

It’s been over ten years now since that day. The red Mustang is gone and I’m in Oklahoma now. That world that’s so mean? It actually delivered terminal cancer to our door within 2 months of that day. And he was gone 107 days later.

Yet every time it rains really hard. Every time I hear that song. Every time I’m stuck in a downpour, I remember. And it hurts. And it’s so bittersweet. And I cherish it every time I remember. Some things are just meant to hurt. And that’s okay.


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