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November 10, 2001: In the air there's a feeling

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It's been coming all day. This morning even with the sun shining there were enough clouds to give one pause, and later this afternoon, as we emerged from the last stop in a short stint of holiday shopping, the sky was dark earlier than usual, even by daylight savings' standards. As we walked to the car, the smell of it was in the air and driving home it began in earnest, just heavy enough to be a visibility annoyance.

It was easy to forget about the weather when we got home. After a lot of procrastination on my part, I knew I'd better get cracking on this writing business before I fell even further behind, and so this morning I uploaded all the bits and pieces I'd managed to scribble all week and sorted them out, preparing to flesh them out into legitimate parts of the story.

Hours later, we stopped for a quick snack, and then headed upstairs again, back to the computers to write - both determined to break a certain word count set only in our heads for this evening. We turned off the lights downstairs, knowing that from writing we would go to bed whenever we become too tired for fingers to type.

At the top of the stairs Richard paused, heading not for the computer room but instead into the darkened bedroom to the other side of the hall.

"Shh," he whispered, one hand raised as I was about to ask what he was doing. He knelt down beside one of the windows and leaned close to it.

I joined him, not sure at first what he was doing. But then, together, we opened two of the windows.

We knelt there in silence, on the floor in the dark room, to listen to the sound of the rain. It was a gentle fall - certainly not a storm, but harder than just a faint damp mist. The only light on our street at night comes from the streetlamp one house away and it reflected off of newly forming puddles below. The rain fell steady, a quiet stream of noise only audible now that we had opened the windows to listen.

In the dark I turned to Richard, knowing by his smile that he's thinking the same thing as I, as usual, even as I opened my mouth to speak.

And so tonight, we will leave the windows open. It does not matter that it might get a bit too cold. We'll burrow beneath extra blankets and - as they usually do when there is a chill in the night air - the cats will burrow around us as well.

Sometimes, we just need to be able to hear the rain.

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