I associate rain with death.
My grandad was dying. I’d known that since I woke and Mum had gone to see him, leaving early. But me and Dad, we had to carry on. Going through the motions: church, and the worship group, hiding our tears, and then Ben’s gig.
We smiled. His friends were there but they would never have known; we didn’t let on. The journey home, I sat in the front seat, and we stopped at a Little Chef and I had one of those sherbet lollies they have at the till.
Dad left to answer his phone, standing outside, pacing up and down. When he hung up, we got back in the car and joined the traffic jam again, an unending line of cars.
We asked, me and Ben, if it had been Mum on the phone. Yes, he told us. So what did she say?
But that, he insisted, could wait until we got home.
It was raining.
I sat in the front seat watching the car in front and I knew what the answer was but I didn’t dare to believe it and the sherbet orange lolly was sweet on my tongue even though I’d already finished it and I would. Not. Cry.
I must have watched those windscreen wipers for so long.
We dropped Ben’s friends off, got home at last, and asked Dad again.
Grandad had died just before five o’clock.
When Mum came home I sat on her lap and I hugged her and I cried. Cried until the tissue in my hand was sodden and I couldn’t breathe for snot and it wasn’t a picturesque tear running down my cheek, it was outright sobs.
She’d told him of the book I’d been writing that I’d wanted him to see finished, told him all the things I’d been too far away to say myself. Had she told him that I loved him? I still felt like I hadn’t really said goodbye.
And the memory I had was of those windscreen wipers and the rain and the Little Chef orange sherbet lolly.
So that’s why I associate rain with death.