March 22, 2018
I fell in love with you again today in the rain, in the parking lot of the Albertson’s grocery store.
My socks were damp. We were left with only one umbrella after mine had snapped at the handle on our walk from home, so we stood, shoulder to shoulder, just outside the automatic doors.
You mentioned that you weren’t feeling well. “I think it’s my thyroid,” you said, wincing. (It had been a week and the pharmacy still hadn’t received your prescription from your doctor back in Maine.) “Or maybe my blood sugar.”
Either way, we put the bags down on the wet cement and waited.
I was worried that we might be making the wrong decision when we first moved to Los Angeles. As we stood there beneath our one umbrella, I watched people run from their cars to cover and thought about what my family was doing back on the east coast. I thought of another time we had gone to the grocery store in the rain. We sat in the car with the heat running and then drove across the Kingston Rhinecliff bridge, down to where the train tracks run parallel to the Hudson River. We watched the water swell. Rain fell and we dawdled without umbrellas from the shoreline to the canopy that crossed over the tracks. We stayed until we were both shivering and the train had passed from New York City on its way north to Albany.
That’s one of my favorite memories we’ve had together, despite the tears we both cried that day. You knelt down to our groceries and grabbed the bag of Fritos. My thoughts of home dissipated and I was there with you again, noting the contrast between the grey parking lot around us and the crinkling red film. A strand of hair fell into your face as you stood and I thought again that it reminds me of champagne. (I know you think it’s ordinary you always seem to think you’re ordinary.)
Rain tumbled from the umbrella and cooled the back of my neck. I had met with another publisher that morning. I forgot my wallet at home and couldn’t pay for the coffee, so I drank water and listened quietly while a panic attack strangled me from the inside until I could barely form sentences without crying. There were eighty dollars in my bank account.
The moment you pulled the adhesive on the bag of Fritos loose, though, my uneasiness fizzled away. It was as if the apprehension had been sealed inside and, now that the pressure had released, it hung above us, weightless in the rain.
You smiled from your eyes and brought two corn chips to your mouth.
That was the moment. You didn’t know because I didn’t tell you then, so I thought I’d tell you now, six months later. That was the moment I fell in love with you again in the rain, in the parking lot of the grocery store, the taste of Fritos salt on our lips.
Robert Crane is a graduate of the Written Arts Program at Bard College. He is originally from a small town named Tivoli in upstate New York and moved to Los Angeles in January 2018. His work is often meditative, exploring the relationship between memories, dreams, and emotions. Recently, he’s enjoyed learning to write sketch comedy