Nora is spiraling out of control.
Her memories and demons are united in the war against her.
Memories, deception, evil and pain have forced their way into her life.
Unable to handle it, she is taken to the brink of insanity.
Will she be strong enough to survive?
I feel as like raindrops have been following me my whole life. Slowly dripping and tiptoeing behind me in myshadow. At other times chasing me at a downpour, drenching me as I try to dodge the wet droplets. The rain has been incorporated in my life during times when earth shattering, life-changing events have happened and enclosed in my dreams; frightening me out of my sleep.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve hated the rain. Besides the headaches from the pressure in the air and my previously broken bones aching, I also get beaten up by my mental issues.Yes, I have plenty of them. Anxiety fills my veins as the rain begins and doesn’t leave until the clouds part and the sun shines brightly. Sometimes, I catch it too late and that’s when depression kicks in. There’s something about the dreariness of the weather that sets me on a whirlwind mentally. With my shoulders slouched, my mind is dark and I feel incapable of living. The weather infuses itself into my mind and makes it too heavy for me to carry. The weight makes me sag and hang deep below my typical surface and I tend to become stagnant, unwilling to move until I am strong enough to push, yank and tear my way out of it. I won’t leave the house or wherever I am at the moment the showers start and I plead to anyone that will listen to stay put until it ends. An unsettled feeling builds within my heart and I’m afraid that something bad will happen; scared someone will get hurt. Some people understand and others say, to my surprise, that I have major issues. Tell me something I don’t know.
In the small chance that I succumb to the constant whine of others and leave the house while it rains, I carry one of my many umbrellas. I have red ones, blue ones, striped ones and polka dots. I have a lot from when I was a little girl such as my frog one. I’ve collected umbrellas since before I can remember. There’s a picture that I have from Christmas when I was two years old and I’m unwrapping the one with strawberries all over it and in the background of that photo are my frog, rainbow and duck ones leaning against the wall next to the front door. So, this hoarding aspect of my personality must have started before then. My closet is full of them, along with the hallway closet and it has infiltrated the attic, kicking out all the nonsense that Pops keeps. Some are shoved under my bed, the trunk of my car and in boxes in the garage that, once again, evicted Pops’ things. I’m still waiting for the day he freaks out on me as he pulls up in the driveway and passes all his belongings that are sitting on the curb awaiting their final trip to the landfill as I make room for my beloved umbrellas, but he seems to handle it nicely. He practically acts as if he doesn’t notice, so I’ll continue to do it until he has had enough and screams at me. Pops is actually the one that has contributed the most to my umbrella collection. My birthday, Christmas, Hanukkah (and we aren’t even Jewish) and every other holiday you can think of, he hands me a wrapped present in a long odd shape. Once, he bought me one for his birthday. I thought that was a bit odd, but I graciously accepted it, of course.
I believe my Mom and Dad were the culprits in getting this obsession started. There have been many major hissy fits that have occurred due to my insistence that something bad was going to happen and the reaction I had when the moistness hit my skin. So, their solution was those umbrellas. They told me it was my shield, a shield to protect me from the pain and fear I felt. I fell for it. I believed them wholeheartedly. When I had one in my hand covering my body, I felt nothing could hurt me. I was a warrior against the deepest of pains. I can’t even recall the last time a raindrop touched my skin.
When I was younger and at home, I would hide under my bed at the first rap of thunder and wail at the first glimpse of a small wet mark hitting the wood that made the porch. I have been under my bed so often my Dad and I decked it out under there. I had shelving for my books, pictures hanging from the rails, stuffed animals galore, pink streamers for decoration, small Christmas tree lights for lighting, and pillows and blankets that I kept under there ready to go for when I needed to retreat to safety. There wasn’t much room, but it was my fortress.
When I was about 6 years old, I stole a storage box from my Dad’s bar down in the basement. The box contained little umbrellas from a luau themed barbecue that my parents threw one summer. I remember their friends walking around with them hanging out of their drinks all night long. I took my markers and colored each one differently, then took duct tape and fastened the newly designed umbrellas to each one of my stuffed animals’ hand just so they would be safe, too. My animals and I would all lay huddled together underneath my bed for hours. I didn’t just keep my paranoia to myself. I pushed them upon everything and everyone close to me. When my parents left the house I shoved an umbrella in their hand. Sometimes, they nonchalantly placed them down somewhere and thought I wouldn’t notice. But, I always did and gave them an ear full when they returned. Pops, on the other hand, took them with great pleasure and without hesitation. When he knew I was watching out the window as he headed towards his truck, he opened up the umbrella proudly, even when it wasn’t raining and the sun shined bright. It’s kind of funny to see your grandfather sporting a bright pink umbrella with a smiley face imprinted on it above his head while clutching a case of his favorite beer in the other headed for a get together with his old-time war buddies.
It’s not as horrible these days to leave my house while the rain falls down. I’m older now and I know it won’t physically hurt me, but I rather not. And, that is exactly what I was thinking as I was staring at the chipping paint on the bottom of my magenta colored dresser, while laying on my side across my bed listening to the sound of the rain hitting the tree outside my window. My long brown hair was strewn across my face, making it so that the dresser was the only thing I could see besides the opening of my closet. My knees were brought into my chest and my hands were tightly squeezed around them. The mission: to make myself as little as I possibly could, trying to be nonexistent to everyone including myself.
I get in these moods a lot. It seems that the frequency of their happenings comes and goes in their intensity and longevity. Sometimes, it’s a week or two before the switch takes place. Other times, it’s within minutes. The switch being my mood swings. The high-flying upswing of those is breathlessly beautiful with my face hurting from the endless amounts of smiles emitting from my face. The downward end of the moods, the back swing, are where the trouble lies in wait, waiting to pounce on me and wishing with its fingers crossed that I won’t be ready. The less preparation and fight I give the easier and longer it suffocates me.
I’ve felt like shit for a while now, hiding it the best I can from my family, but the back swing swung higher today and I wasn’t prepared at all. Hence, why I have encased myself in this position on my bed, undecided on whether I want to breathe again. I knew I had to get up any second because Pops wants his hair cut for his date tonight. He enlisted me in this job ever since I’ve lived with him and we have the same spat every time because we differ on mishaps. Being that I am not a professional, it’s understandable that a mistake will occur, but his point is that I’ve done it for so long now that I should have mastered it being that he’s had the same haircut since forever. The typical old guy one. His hair parted on the side and combed over the top. He likes me to fix a mistake I make on his hairline and I just say “Eh, just shave it”. He always wins that battle, though because he says he has a dent on the top of his head and he can’t possibly show his face in public with it bare. The fact that I have one to match his makes me relent in my stance and mend my mishap.
I lay in my spot waiting to hear his bellowing voice and his fist banging on the wall, enamored by the choice in paint color the previous owner had chosen for the dresser. Granted, I didn’t like the baby pink I picked when I was little. But, that orange-green puke color that was peering through under the chipping magenta and light pink made me question other people’s sanity.
My mind was flip-flopping between the nonsense of the dresser, to disappointment that air was entering my lungs, to my hair getting in my eyes. My head does that on purpose. It tries to snap me out of my funk by focusing on mundane things such as chipping paint; the sane part trying to grab my attention away from the devil lurking inside. There was a rap of thunder coming from the heavens above that made me jump a few inches off my bed and land on the same spot and reconnect with the paint again.
“Nora, Let’s go!” Pops had just yelled for me shocking me out of my comatose state.
“I’m coming, I’m coming,” I grumbled
When it Rains, was a beautiful story that explored both the light as well as the deepest of darkness within the human mind. Told from Nora’s perspective, she shares with us her journey of fighting herself free from the chains of mental illness and releasing the devastating memories of losing her parents that haunt her mercilessly.
Prudence Hayes has done a wonderful job of addressing a very real issue and making it relatable to everyone. While the content of this book is certainly serious and should not be taken lightly, there are plenty of heart warming moments and outright hilarious interactions between Nora and those she loves the most, that guarantee for an entertaining read.
In the end, no matter who we are and where we’ve come from and no matter how sane we think we are…there’s a little bit of Nora in all of us. Something we should remember the next time we jump to making judgments rather than showing compassion.
Prudence has a mind that wanders aimlessly every second of everyday and when it settles she calls herself a writer.
She is a daydreamer, a wisher and hoper. She is a devotee to The Beatles, her heart grows for animals and she is a fan of anything unique. She is an aunt to many who lives in Washington Crossing, Pa at the moment, but who knows where you will find her this time next year.
Prudence is also a Children’s Book Writer! Learn more about her book here!