He never liked the rain. That was such a mild way to put it, and didn’t convey near enough his distaste for it, but he was never good with words.
The rain was where he had ended it. Oscar had been shocked, he hadn’t seen it coming. Ah, well—that wasn’t totally true; he had seen that look in Waldo’s eyes, the excited gleam slowly giving way to disillusionment. He saw it. He saw it that day, too, in the rain. He was being thrown away. Discarded. Tossed out into the deluge like an unwanted stuffed toy; once beloved but now outgrown. Despite that, there was still love there. Oscar knew that. That goodbye in the airport—the something that had made it all real, but also brought with it astounding closure—made him see clear enough. Although, while his eyes still held that vow of love, they made no promise to never repeat what he had done that day in the rain.
That day he could remember being cold. The chill from the downpour, the frigid sensation sluggishly reaching up his spine, the icy understanding pooling in his stomach like melting snow. All of it gradually numbing him to the pain, so that the only thing he felt was the cold. Even his tears ran together with the full droplets falling onto his face, both so heavy and soaked with his loss that he couldn’t distinguish the two anymore. He didn’t want to.
It hadn’t ended in a fight, or a fiery yelling match. It had ended with him alone, abandoned in the rain.
“Oscar Hanninen; he’ll be fine on his own. Just leave him alone and he’ll be okay. He doesn’t need any comforting or anything like that, does he?”
The rain was where he had chased his father outside along the street. Much younger now, and with a pleased grin on his face. His father was in one of those plastic toy cars, cramped and definitely straining a few muscles but more than happy to play along in Oscar’s game of Race Cars. At this early age he was often called ‘untamable.’ In the future, people would try to bridle him; but for right now, he was wild and free. Limitless. But, so caught up in his own fantasies he had lost sight of his father, and hastily whipped his head around for him. This took his focus away from the ground and he slipped and fell, scraping his knees and left elbow as he slid across the slick pavement. He was never much of a crier when he got injured, but the pain reared its head as he pulled himself up to sit on the curb. His father was nowhere to be seen in the now-torrential storm. It was a reflection of the future.
The rain stung his wounds. It wasn’t supposed to, but that was the first time he realized life wasn’t fair, and it didn’t play by the rules. It certainly did not obey the philosophies of ‘supposed to.’ In that moment, he wished for the rain to stop. He wished for the pain to stop. He wished to be reunited with his father. But none of those wishes came true, and the rain continued to pour.
“It may be a difficult road…but Oscar can make it. His talent can take him there.”
The rain was where it always spelled danger for race drivers like him. It made the track slippery, compromised visibility, and had a high chance of leaving a driver flipped over in a side ditch or grass patch. To a driver, to him, the rain was not safe, and it always brought with it huge risk. He was made to be wary of the rain.
Normally, when it was like that, whole races would sometimes be called off. When they ever did go out there, they were advised to be careful and cautious, to go slow, to be alert. They could not let their minds wander, could not ever let themselves relax, and always had to be aware of the things going on around them. It was not unlike survival mode, and they were trained to more or less treat it as such. The rain would not spare them.
“I’m just trying to comfort you…can’t I at least do this for you? Or am I not allowed to say that?”
The rain was where he got hurt.
But then he appeared. Sitting across from him in the rain, telling Oscar how much he loved him. Dissipating his concerns and melancholy words, evaporating them into nothing; a sign of sun amidst the squall. With Lily’s words came a metamorphosis. It was a simple yet tender sentence that touched his heart and filled his entire body with a comforting warmth. Time stopped, in that moment, and Lily was all he could see, all he could feel and focus on as his hand brushed gently up Oscar’s own.
The rain was finally a haven. The rain was where he felt safe. It shielded them both from the outside world, kept them tucked away in their small time capsule for as long as they needed, or at least that’s what it felt like. He didn’t have to worry about the next day, or even the next seconds. Everything was right here, with the distant sound of the rainfall enfolding them. It wasn’t always going to be like this, he knew, but until the rain stopped…this was all that mattered.
“It looks like it might rain.”