“I am only sharing this with you,” he whispered as the bus steadily pushed through traffic. I didn’t turn to face him, instead I anticipated what was to come.
“I’m a Pluviophile.”
“A what?” this time I turned to him.
“I am kindred to plants and most vegetations.” he continued in a soft spoken tone. Never looking back at me. But straight forward, as not to miss our stop. Because I almost always do.
We’ve passed Ramona’s Deli, where he gets his favorite turkey sandwich every Sunday for lunch. We’ve passed UNIQLO, I was hoping to see their friendly red SALE sign.
“Does this have something to do with you wanting to be a vegan again? Because I’m not buying it.”
He laughed silently and said, “Take a look outside.”
I did what he told me, looked passed him, passed the window.
“I can’t see anything. It’s raining.”
“How do you know it’s raining if you can’t see anything.”
“I meant- whatever.”
“What do plants love?” he asked. Not giving in.
“Water. Fertilizer. Rain?”
“You love, rain?” I looked at him. He was still looking out for our stop.
“There’s our stop.” he said standing up.
“Wait. Let me get my umbrella.”
As we stepped off the bus, the rain greeted us.
It was a mild pour. Enough to get you drenched within a couple of minutes. He was grinning like a crazy person. I ran to Gerard’s Kiosk for shelter. He, on the other hand, stood there absorbed by the rain.
“Get over here, Crazy! You’ll catch a cold.”
He ignored me completely, and sat on the bus stop bench which he had all to himself.
His hair was beginning to clump together, turning into a darker shade of brown. His plaid shirt was drenched. But he just sat there like Forest Gump waiting for his son to come home.
“People are watching.” I tried to get back his attention.
“He does that from time to time.”
I turned around and found Gerard, leaning from his window amidst the magazines and tabloids.
Of course, Gerard knew him since he was a kid checking out vending machines for forgotten change. Way before I did.
“He’s a pluviophile, you see. He loves rain.” Gerard said knowingly.
“Yeah, he just told me.”
“I don’t think it’s wierd though. Everything has a beauty, but not everyone can see it.”
“Confucius.” we said simultaneously, then chuckled simulaneously.
I looked around. Trying to see the beauty but all I could see was his back getting wet.
Just that minute as if triggered by the touch of my gaze, he turned around.
“Come on, sit with me.”
“Yeah, sit with him.” obviously Gerard was on his side.
“Happy?” I said hugging my backpack, afraid its contents might get wet. Though one of the reasons I bought it was because it was waterproof. I felt my jeans getting damp.
“I love this kind of rain in particular. Not too heavy. Not too light. I love how it catches the headlights from cars and form batmobile or thundercat-like beams. I love the smell it gives off when it touches the earth. It’s called petrichor, by the way. That smell.” he turns to me.
“Pe tri chor.” I repeated subconsiously.
“I love how it chases away crowds and can stay around for days.”
“What about floods? Don’t days of rain cause floods?”
“That’s our fault for not being able to tame her. To let her run her course naturally.”
“You do have a point.”
“I love how it keeps us inside.”
“What about amusement park rides? They get cancelled.”
“Sshh. Listen. I love the music it plays.” he takes my wet hand in his and rests it on his lap.
I listen carefully. Carefully filtering the rain from the traffic. It is playing on the awnings, on the emergency staircases, on Gerard’s Kiosk’s roof. On my backpack. On my head. In his.
All of a sudden he starts to sing.
“Raindrops keep falling on my head…”
“No! Please not that song. It’s too damn cliche.” I protest.
He laughs wholeheartedly.
“Aren’t you jealous?”
“Of what? The rain?”
He starts to sing again. This time a better choice.
“I want to wake up with the rain falling on a tin roof. While I’m safe there in your arms.”
All of a sudden a car speeds past and splashes us.
“FUCKING ASSHOLE!!!” he hollered with all his might.
“Now can we go inside?”