Madalene's Rain

I had never seen anyone raining so beautifully as Madalene, my “Madá”. The truth is that I have never seen anyone raining before or after her throughout all these years. However, since it was Madalene, of course it was a beautiful rain, one like the desert had never seen, oh no sir. Unexplained rain, because life is full of explanations already. Madalene rained. That was it. Period. She left nostalgia inside my chest, a nostalgia that is close to love, the only love that I will ever carry here inside. Oh, no, nothing else would fit in this chest of mine.

I remember it well. I remember the day when nobody else could remember what rain was like. We were all waiting. Those who waited indeed―some people couldn't stand waiting any longer and walked away―were looking for a place where the water would never run dry, where our throats would never be parched.

I'm thankful Madá's family didn't walk away. At least I was able to know what happened to her after that and could spend a few moments longer next to her. Too bad I was unable to bring myself to tell her about my puppy love. Sometimes I thought she was aware of it and liked me too.

And it was exactly on the day I had gathered up the courage to tell her about my love, to lay all the cards on the table, that it all came down. Madá was leaving the church wearing that veil covering her hair, looking like a saint. Madá was next to her mother, stopped at the square in front of the church with that broad smile on her face that she used it only for me. Madá seemed to be awaiting my uttering those words. Madá...

All of a sudden, water started to drip down her black hair. Nobody knows where it came from. I heard her mother scream and yell even louder when the water started to drip down the girl's fingers. Madalene couldn't talk. If she opened her mouth, she would end up drowning on the water that was running down her pretty face.

At first, the water was dripping, but then it became running water. It was plenty of water, more than we had seen coming from a natural spring. Nobody knew what to do. The whole city was watching Madá's rain. I had never seen so much water in the same place, except for the creek, which no longer existed. People brought her barrels, tins, and buckets, but the containers weren't enough for all that water.

There she was, raining... I stood next to her, watching her. I wasn't even hungry. And I wasn't the only one. There were people praying. Her widowed mother was talking to the girl, but got no answer from her. Almost the entire city was there.

Three days, exactly three days. That was how long Madalene rained. On the third day, it looked like her skin was evaporating... Madalene was becoming water too, as the science teacher had tried to explained. “Her body is becoming water vapor,” he said. That comment irritated me. I had never liked that fellow, much less now that he had found such an easy explanation for my Madá, who was disappearing before our eyes.

On the third day, a large car came to the city. They say they were from the TV station. They had come to interview residents about Madalene's rain. They couldn't take a picture of the girl. She barely had any skin left, she looked like a shadow. Before they got their equipment ready, the shadow had become a little cloud. And the little cloud then dissipated completely. The cloud broke away to the very last bit of it. Crying, screaming, praying. Where had the girl gone to?

Suddenly, there were thunders. Black clouds like we had never seen before started to gather together. A cold wind brought a chill to our spine.

And then it rained. The rain came from the sky. It was Madalene's rain, the water that had come from her and then evaporated, the teacher explained. Everybody scrambled for their barrels, tins and buckets... The TV people went running to their car and took off.

I stayed there, showering in her water, feeling it going down my throat... The sweet water from my Madalene. I looked down and saw a small transparent rock on the floor. It looked like it was made of water and was shaped like a small “M”. I swear on my mother's life! It was Madalene's “M”. Maybe it was just a piece of her? Everybody would have the water, but that minuscule rock was mine and mine alone. I like to think that I was Madá's gift to the boy who had waited too long to tell her he would always carry her in his heart.

It never stopped raining here in our region. Sometimes even the creek overflows, which makes us all so happy. When that happens, all the kids come out screaming through the flash flood. “It's Madá's rain! It's Madá's rain!” they say. Now, as an old man, it brings me some happiness to see that they all believe my story... Sometimes I even believe it myself. When it happens, I fish that little rock out of my pocket, the same rock that one day, after I'm gone, will be a gift I'll leave to one of my granddaughters, the one by the name of Madalene...

BIA MACHADO was born in Cuiabá, State of Mato Grosso, but destine never took her back to her hometown. She has lived in several places, until in 1993 she arrived in Campo Grande, State of Mato Grosso do Sul. There, she got married and had four daughters―one of them has already left the town.

She graduated in Teaching in 2006 at the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul. She has been teaching full-time at Public Schools since 2006. She has also been working as a freelancer copywriter since 1995 and, in 2012, she has provided copywriting services to Estronho Publishers.

Bia has contributed her works to collections organized by publishers such as Hama, Multifoco and Estronho. In 2011, she self-published a mystery and horror book entitled Certa Estranheza ["A Certain Oddity"], which is available for download as an eBook.

To learn more about her writing, her life and her books, visit her blog No Paraíso de Borges ["At Borges's Paradise"].

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