M is the rainy day man and he crosses my mind every time I hear a clap of thunder. When I think of him, it is to wonder if he’s remembered his raincoat. The raincoat is a blue and yellow sporty number with a hood that can be pulled tight around the face or left alone to be a sort of rubbery cave. I used to think that there was something novel about the fact that M owns a raincoat. I feel like I don’t know many people who do. Really, though, he has to. If it is raining, M is invariably outside in the middle of it. If he doesn’t have the raincoat, he just gets wet, up to three or four times a day if necessary. Sometimes I think he even likes it when he gets wet, that he gets through it by pretending it is part of some elaborate survival exercise:“There might be inclement weather where you’re going, son.”
“I welcome the challenge, sir!”
He has a spare at his house, too. He lent it to me once. No sooner had it dried than M was on his way over in another rainstorm and I felt like some sort of fairy godmother, being able to give it back to him at a time when he needed it. Another time, he ran a marathon in the rain. When he called me from the phone at the bar afterward, his teeth were chattering. I had one sweatshirt that was almost big enough. It had probably belonged to some other boyfriend or friend’s boyfriend or maybe it was so old that it belonged to a boy who had been just a friend. It felt serendipitous. However it had gotten there, it was clear to me that I had the sweatshirt solely to loan it to M the day his teeth were chattering.
When M let me borrow his spare raincoat, I was in the middle of throwing a fit about the fact that it was raining outside. Then we stopped somewhere for a coffee and I threw another fit when I realized they hadn’t put the cream cheese on my bagel. M gave me a raincoaty hug and went to work. I remember thinking about how all of this must have looked to the barista. I was wearing Jen Manfra’s Anthrax T-shirt, ripped jeans, and yesterday’s eye makeup. M looked like he gets a haircut every three weeks and inspires great confidence from his fellow man. In the end, I was sitting there pouting at an empty chair.
“It’s a good thing you’re so interesting,” M said, when I called him later and apologized for being such a crazygirl. We hadn’t known each other very long then.
Sometimes I can see us turning into really creepy old swingers together, the kind that are completely oblivious to how uncomfortable we make the other couples who come over by showing them our new sex swing or willfully misreading our cue to get naked.
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