The rain continues to beat against the windowpanes. I turn down the lamp, and return to my seat by the fireplace. Our cabin is on a hillside, so the rising waters can’t reach us. I picture the brown, foaming waters rushing around the base of our little hill, and am glad I am here, safe and dry with Betty.
As I return to my seat by the fire, she looks up from her sketching. The firelight flickers across her dusky face and dances in her dark eyes. We smile, and I stretch out on the rug with my book in front of me, head to the fire. I look around our little cabin. Spiderwebs adorn the corners and dust lies thick in places, but the floor is clean and there’s a bunch of violets in a glass of water on the table. A couple of Betty’s drawings hang in rough wooden frames I knocked together, adorning the walls. We made a good living here, Betty and I. It’s much better than in the city, which is where we each lived before. But they can’t find us here. I roll back onto my stomach lazily. Staring into the fire and listening to the rain falling on the roof, Betty’s voice cuts softly into my reverie.
“Penny for your thoughts.” I blink, then focus on her face.
“Just listening to the rain.”
“Oh,” she says, but she keeps looking at me. To change the subject, I ask if she would like a back rub. She agrees.
“So how long do you think the rain will last?” she asks as I work the knots out of her back. I pause in pressing on a particularly large knot to consider my reply.
“Not too long I hope. A couple days, a week….” I move my hands higher on her shoulders before finishing. “I kinda like it in this cabin, actually.” The only sign she had heard me was a slight tilting of her head. I finished the back rub and she reclined back into my arms. We stared into the fire, each thinking different thoughts. We have dropped off to sleep, between the fire’s warmth, the soft lullaby of the falling rain, and each other’s company, had not the stupid cat decided to join us and perch on my neck. I moved slowly, trying to shoo the cat away without waking Betty, but without success. She started, then reached for her notebook. I silently cursed the cat and weighed the loss of a good mouser versus a new pair of mittens.
“Stupid cat,” I pronounced to myself. Betty’s head, bent over her drawing, came up. Mischief sparkles in her lively dark eyes. She said something about Emily (that’s the cat’s name), but I didn’t hear a word of it, I was so focused on her eyes…her hair spilling over her shoulders…the curve of her arm as it held the pencil poised over the paper….Emily stalked away and jumped up onto the calico-covered table and arranged herself to survey the room. Her job was done. And as I gently removed the notebook from her hands, and took her in my arms, I realized that I didn’t mind the rain.
(#7, 5/13/99, place#24)