Rain on and off all night – rain and death – no telling who is going to die, no one I know, maybe, can never be sure, how could anyone be sure? Rain all night long, comes and goes, the day was like that too, one minute the sun was breaking through the clouds, the air had turned suddenly cool, ameliorating, the net – well, what were those dark, foreboding clouds doing there, hadn’t they cleared out, well, yes, they had, but these were different dark foreboding clouds, threatening new rain, and boy, what rain, rain like you remember from your childhood, teeming rain, unforgiving rain, drenching, saturating, unremitting rain – and then, then, unexpectedly, like an undeserved victory, the clouds pass, the sky brightens, the day, once such a harbinger of menace and intimating of such bad tidings (expected as all bad tidings always are), seems miraculously pregnant with promise, rebirth, the sun is a balm, a purgative, a tonic; but what do you know, the sun won’t last, the blue skies will disappear soon enough, more rain, they say, is coming, the oppressive humidity you thought the storm had flung aside, is back again – surprise, well, no, no surprise, not really, you knew the summer would be like this, promising one thing, threatening another, never making it known where it stood. You were a fool to believe that there was any solidity. What a joke. There was only shifting ground, there was only quicksand, there was only the illusion that you had happiness within your grasp, that you could reach out and what you wanted would be, for a little while anyway, yours.
You think that rain is real, you think that thunder rumbling overhead is real, you think that the stirrings in your heart or the roiling in your tummy is real – well, wrong you are, and wrong again; what is real are the bills that come due, the voice of the creditor (or rather his telephonic rep), what is real is the insistent voice in your beleaguered mind when you wake, suddenly, in the middle of the dreary night, calculating what must be paid, what can be staved off, what remains of the battered bank balance, what money is due in, what prospects exist, which have been cut short, which life or fate has cheated you out of, how you can get by, how anybody can get by, why your classmates and former colleagues have done so much better than you, what you have done wrong, what you continue to do wrong without knowing why, or if knowing why, without knowing how to change it – this is reality: forget the Bible, forget the many words of wisdom that have been drummed into your brain over the years, the recognition that happiness is for everyone, regardless of income or socioeconomic status, that even quadriplegics, if they were content to begin with, will adjust within six months to their new paralyzed situation, quite without the predictable bitterness or seething resentment you’d expect, that, really, when all is said and done (if anything is ever all said and done), you should be grateful for what you’ve got – isn’t that what they’re always telling you? – but first things first: if you are to get by you need to play by the rules, get your check-ups, make sure and challenge if necessary your credit rating reports, because these things, my friend, constitute reality, and it’s naïve to think otherwise.