I don’t own an umbrella.

I fell in love with the rain a long time ago and have no desire to shield myself from it. And now, after weeks of maddening heat and humidity, it’s raining again. Pouring down and washing the city clean of its grit and dirt. A baptism, perhaps. We went through some dark days this year, but I see flashes of white lightening outside my window and it tells me we’re going to be alright. I am an optimist in the rain.

Colombo has come through a collective disaster, but when we heal, we heal alone. Or in the company of that one person who will sit with us in the rain so we can find our way home. The friend who will hold you on a rainy night on a balcony in Bamba as you cry for the loss of your grandmother. The brother who holds your hand as the rain pours outside your city home, because your father is no more. The lover who fights through Colombo’s rainy day traffic to bring you Elephant House hotdogs because she knows your best friend went and died on you. We lost hundreds recently, but each sorrow, like each drop of the downpour, is a deeply intimate thing.

The rain makes me do strange things; I break parental convention and dance in it with my kid. I take rainy day walks through city streets and watch the storm beckon to people, demanding that they come out to play. Beating on windows and rattling on our gutter chains, we are given little choice. People come out to sit by windows and stand in doorways. Others rush to balconies and gardens, saving the laundry. Even workaholics stop momentarily to look up from their cubicles and watch the rain come down.

And then it ends, as suddenly as it began. Leaving behind muddy puddles on broken bits of street that reflect scenes of the city above it. Colombo feels new again. Droplets remain on windscreens and catch the night lights in a mad dance of colour. A leaf dangles on a tree, washed clean and shining in the sun that follows. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll be soaked to the bone. I come to rain like a Barracuda to the ocean. Like we belong.

Monsoons are magical things. So go outside when the next shower comes knocking at your door. Or office. Or classroom. Step away from that party on the rooftop and have a love affair with a city drenched in rain. Sing. Splash your feet into muddy puddles. And if you’re lucky enough to have found your person, go kiss them in the rain.

A Column by Natalie Soysa August 2019