I remember vaguely that the threat of rain hung heavy over that summer day, so unlike the sunny skies and the hum of cicadas, that made the very air feel alive just days before that. I felt the clamminess of the kiss of humidity with the cold air coating my skin, as I walked the half block to my maths tutor’s house mumbling about how I should have thought to bring an umbrella.
My math tutor asked if I did as the unmistakable patter of rain against the window caused us to look up from the problems before me I was struggling to solve.
Her sharp, critical eyes behind nondescript silver framed glasses flicked to the bag at my side as if she were able to see through it and catch me when I lied and said that I did. I don’t know why I lied about that. I can’t remember why I’d even think to; if it was because I knew she’d offer to walk me home herself or because I figured the rain would stop by the time our hour was up.
It didn’t. But I’m glad it didn’t, because my lie and the incessant rain gave me a moment in my childhood I remember to this day. I took the elevator down, staring at myself staring at myself to an infinite degree from the mirrors mounted to face each other on the walls of the elevator.
The moment the doors opened I could smell the distinct scent of the ozone wafting upon the earth. I walked down the hallway and spotted two figures carrying umbrellas and chatting. It didn’t dawn on me that they were my parents until I tentatively poked my head and arm out to see just how strong the rain was to calculate how fast I should run and heard a familiar call of my name.
It was my mother, smiling faintly at me. I looked at her and then at my father in undisguised surprise. This was during their divorce, when both of them averted their eyes in the other’s presence and forced me to be the mediator between them. They shifted uncomfortably as they explained how they both thought to pick me up knowing I didn’t bring an umbrella and were surprised to see each other there as well.
I shared an umbrella with my mother, of course, leaving my father to trudge around behind us. At that moment, I had the oddest sense of everything being alright. That despite their failed marriage, despite having practically nothing in common, they had me, and that’s all that mattered. It was then that I accepted not all things had to be whole to be functional, that not all broken things are useless.