She chatters easily, incessantly, nonstop. The words fall endlessly from the tip of her tongue into the receiver pressed against my ear. I lay the phone upon the counter and the chatter continues, mindless chatter falling on deaf ears.
Her pitch changes and I quickly reach for the phone and press it once again to my ear.
I’m sorry, what was that?
I can hear her heavy sign. Her failed attempt at repressed frustration.
I saaaid, how can you stand all that rain?
There it is. The change in pitch I thought I heard before. A slight raise in the octave singling that a response is in order. A small adjustment, but big enough to bring me out of my reverie, to set off warming singles in my mind, to remind me that a phone conversation is an exchange between two people.
I don’t mind the rain, I simply answer.
I gently, soundlessly place the phone back on the counter and the ceaseless chatter begins again.
She doesn’t know that it hasn’t rained for weeks in Seattle; that the ground is in desperate need of a downpour, that there is a burn ban and a brush pile in my backyard. She doesn’t know how the lake water is receding. Nor does she know how I have seamlessly adapted into my new home 3,000 miles away. How I too am in a fragile season, a drought. With only one careless spark away from bursting into uncontrollable, raging flames.
She never asked.
I don’t mind the rain. The rain would be relief.
I wait by the counter a little longer, listening for the change in pitch to once again occur.
One. Two. Three minutes pass. The words fall off her lips into the open space around me. I hit the red button on the receiver, push away from the counter, and wait for the rain.