A cautionary piece of flash fiction to celebrate this joyous season,
joyous, that is, for certain of those amon us, but not for all.
==WAITING IN THE RAIN
by Bill Fullerton
The cold winter rain told a sad story, and I was listening.
I'm a good listener; always have been. Especially here inside the cemetery—just sitting and listening to the rain, hearing the story, and waiting for Melinda.
We don’t have nice winter weather, just rain. The only thing it’s good for is hunting, mostly for deer. But I don't hunt—not anymore.
Winter became my favorite season because of Melinda. I was driving home after wasting an entire Saturday morning down in the bottoms trying to get that big buck just about everybody, including me, had seen at one time or another.
A car, it was an old raggedy-ass Plymouth Fury, was pulled over on the shoulder of the Barnwell road just about in the middle of nowhere. A woman was out in the rain trying to change a flat. I stopped to help.
That's when I met Melinda. She was going somewhere to see somebody who was some sort of kin. For the life of me I don't remember where or who. What I do remember is that even in a tan raincoat, Melinda, she said her name was Melinda Carter, was about the prettiest girl I'd ever seen. She had these big brown eyes, long, wet eyelashes and a cute little nose. I noticed it because there was a raindrop right on the tip. And even though her lips were a little blue with the cold, her smile could start a forest fire.
I told her to wait in my truck but she stayed out in the rain, holding an umbrella over me, while I changed the flat. That’s when we got to talking. She lived a couple of hours away and was a senior in college. I told her I'd just graduated and was teaching English at the local high school.
With all the rain and mud, it took awhile to change that tire. And I’ll admit, I wasn’t in a big hurry. I didn’t want her to just drive out of my life. But I’m no ladies man and couldn’t figure out what to do. After I’d put everything away and slammed the trunk shut, she insisted I get in the car with her and share some hot coffee she’d brought along.
The rain had stopped by then. She’d taken off her raincoat and pitched it into the back seat. Even in a bulky sweater and jeans, you could tell she had a nice, cuddly figure. So being a gentleman and all, I tossed my gear into my new pickup and crawled into the passenger seat of her old Plymouth.
God, but that was good coffee. Black with a little sugar and still nice and hot. We talked and finished off the coffee. And then while she was putting things away, it started to rain again. We both stared at the rain through the car’s fogged-up windows. Then we looked at one another. And just as I reached out for her, she slid over beside me.
We made love to the sound of the rain drumming against the car. It all seemed so natural, so right. Her body was so smooth and warm. And when she looked up at me, watching while I tore off my clothes, I thought I’d burst. She pulled me down into her as our two bodies became one.
A few weeks later, when I asked her to marry me, she said yes. After that, rainy winter days were always special for us. And now, well, it’s just a reminder of the weather that day I killed her.
It was overcast and raining. I'd been hunting all day and she’d come to pick me up. But I was late. So she put on her old tan raincoat and walked into the bottoms heading for my deer stand where, just for a second, I thought I saw that big buck and then, and then, that's when I killed her.
Now I come out here and listen to the rain tell the story and wait for Melinda. I keep the motor running so the cab will be warm when she comes. And she always comes. We sit together here inside my old truck and talk and listen. And then she wraps me in her arms and whispers in my ear and we make love. That’s when it’s almost like it used to be. But later, when it starts getting dark and she has to go, that’s when we both start to cry.
But she's late today, or maybe I got here early. I'm not sure. Time doesn't mean much anymore. The thing is, I'm getting a little sleepy. So I'll keep the motor running, but maybe close my eyes—just for a minute, though. 'Cause Melinda and I will be together soon, like we always should be. Only it'll be here in the cemetery, inside my truck, in the winter rain.
Labels: cemetary, deer, hunting, rain, teacher, winter