The Unexpected Present

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And Then The Rains Came In

waterfalls in forest

It starting raining lightly yesterday morning. Hurricane Henri left behind a wet one. My normal early morning jaunt from Montague to Key Food Market in Milford for the usual fare, something for the next couple of days, cat food, Sunday NYT items that make Yuri smile when I bring them home. I already miss the cashier, a lovely young high school student who bade us farewell this past week as she goes off to college. The past few months, she heard the news of Yuri getting through the worst to getting better days.

It was always a source of surprise and joie de vivre from the cashier before I went off bringing the Sunday crossword puzzle to the ICU every week. Sometimes I did a bit. Sometimes I read the clues out loud to Yuri in his dream state. He tells me more of his embedded dreams as they come into his cognitive state of mind. Despite his wild imaginative hallucinations of escape to Atlantic City gambling casinos, designing and selling an app to Apple, leasing a Volvo electric car, renting a Lincoln Continental, and drive cross country on the Lincoln Highway, I listened with interest. Wasn’t it every college kid’s dream (along with the Euro Rail Pass) to travel cross country, cross-continent? Not everyone was able to fulfill that dream, so why not under sedation?

After a while, at the Rehab we were able to do a little bit more of the Sunday crossword together. Yuri wasn’t really into it but I maintained it’s good for the brain because you never know where those answers come from but they fit and work with other clues. That’s how we take to it. With pencil and eraser on hand, because Lord knows I will fill in the blanks if I can find a word that fits. At that moment. Then Yuri comes along, eraser in hand, and gently reminds me that what I wrote isn’t incorrect, not wrong, mind you, but not the right fit. He tells me I’m better at the anagrams, fill in the blanks, the theme clues because I try to make them up whenever I’m writing something.

I appreciate Yuri’s vast knowledge whose wry sense of humorous POVs combines a historical perspective that correlates with current events that obviously involve him. He’s also well versed in world capitals – countries I’ve never been to never mind remembering their spellings, pronunciations, or currency. I loved watching Jeopardy! but it was Yuri who got more international, geography, physics, literature (Russian poets) answers right than I did. This brain is intact

So, the best part of the day was the crossword puzzle. We were sitting outside with the rain, out on an outdoor state of mind, on a traditional summer rental sheltered on a ramshackle wooden porch of a summer home on a man-made body of water for the golfers to curse over, Lake Holiday. The overhead drips rhythmically as I shift to a dry spot, hanging onto the steady drenching that reminds me of Australia’s rainforest. Hot, humid with wildlife finding their way in urban settings. We shared our deck with several hummingbirds this afternoon wrangling over territory rights.

It was so rewarding sitting on the deck outside. Listening to the rain. Working on the puzzle. After a short time, but getting a couple of the anagrams (Yuri knows me) I hand it back to Yuri who was just finishing up the Book Review. The ones he gets make me smile because I get it. I get him. How his thinking process goes along for getting these clues. It’s one of those simple moments that will remain unforgettable and filed in the Mind Place for future reference (the really good clues for three-letter words always pop up).

Later that evening I sit out hearing only the rainfall. There was no sunset or moonrise, nothing to welcome the full moon in Leo-Aquarius. Fire and Air. Creative Arts and Words. Visually, it was just an incredibly thick light gray cloud of rain, light-colored gray like Yuri’s hair, it filled the background in a continuous monotone where you couldn’t recognize the sky from the land from the lake. A canvas. It’s going to be time to get back to painting again. And as someone mentioned, Yuri and I are writing. And yeah, we’re talking about it. And talking. and talking. Great stuff. It’s like an Alice in Wonderland moment.

The cashier, I encountered, Lauren, a stranger, always brightened up my 7 a.m. Sunday mornings radiating sunshine no matter how gray and bleak the early days were when I would be driving to and from the Darkness and The Pit of Despair hospital and then the Just Don’t Hide the Urinal Rehab. She abandoned her register to come out and meet Yuri waiting in the car. Her enthusiasm for his come back from only knowing it was a very dire situation from my spurts of “where we are” comments, her sincerity will always put a smile on my face.

The kindness of what strangers will do when they cross my path is priceless. Very grateful for your all kindness. As the rain moves out, the seasonal heat and humidity move in. I’m used to it. I’m actually loving it.

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