The office is suddenly hotter and stuffier and I don’t have to look out the window to know that I’ll have to race the rain home today.
Hurriedly throwing things into my bag, I whip out my trusty iPod and within minutes, I’m on my way.
Humidity follows me out the door, past the security guards and onto my customary route back home. I untangle the earphone wires twisted messily around my fingers and pause while I turn the dial, looking for the perfect tune.
Slightly superstitious, I try to please the Gods and stave off the rain with something fabulous and the choice falls on Led Zeppelin. I press play, the moody strains of Babe I’m Gonna Leave You fill my ears and I start walking again, a little faster now.
The song fits the weather perfectly. Stormy clouds seemed to have tinged the whole world different shades of grey and the very air around me is thick, pregnant with the promise of rain. Not just a timid shower, but a full on downpour.
God this weather. Tropical, capricious, infuriating. I can’t believe I actually spend so much time writing about the weather on my blog. But it’s really much more interesting that one gives it credit for. In this country anyway.
I said baby, you know I’m gonna leave you.
I’ll leave you when the summertime,
Leave you when the summertime comes arollin…
To take my mind off the heat, I concentrate on the song – not difficult at all to do. The melodic guitar makes me catch my breath and Plant’s vocals turn me slightly green with envy, as always. I mouth the words as I walk, trying to imagine how I’d sing it. I give it up for a lost cause when Plant’s restless crooning breaks into his infamous, uninhibited falsetto. Damn.
What a song. I can’t even imagine the genius that would have gone into creating something so quintessentially perfect.
Babe babe babe babe babe babe baby baby I’m wanna leave you
I ain’t jokin’ woman I’ve gotta ramble…
Who knew repeating one word over and over (‘yes’ doesn’t count) could sound so sexy?
The song is full of reluctant longing and I can relate. The music, the lyrics, everything about it is fuelled by a dichotomy of abandon and restraint which, despite its paradoxical nature, just… works. It strains and it flows, it pushes and pulls and the result is a song that sneaks into your head and rips out your heart, stirring and lulling torrid, secret emotions.
Even with a song in my head, the thunder’s hard to ignore. I hurry past the security check points and soldiers, keeping my eyes fixed on the pot holes in the road, taking care not to stumble as I usually do. Today there’s no time.
A motorcycle zips past, missing me by a hairs breadth, and the rain catches up.
It’s still a drizzle and I have a short way left, so as the song comes to an end, I send up another offering – Tea For One. I think it works because although the drizzle thickens slightly, it does so just enough to dispel the worst of the heavy humidity. The welcome coolness calms me as I stride home in my heels – worn out of necessity rather than fashion sense because of jeans that are too long.
I turn into the lane which leads to my house, and find myself alone. I take this moment of isolation to shake my hair loose, turn my face up to the sky and open my mouth slightly, letting a few drops settle on my tongue. Mmm, fresh and sweet. I can’t remember the last time I tasted the rain. Where’s the time these days? I hear the toot of a trishaw coming around the next corner, quickly clamp my mouth shut and grin sheepishly as it whooshes past. Caught red handed being a kid. Story of my life.
I have a smile on my face as I walk the last leg of my brief journey, because lines of this post are running through my head faster than I can keep up with them and I can feel that familiar urge to write. Like an old friend, knocking persistently at my door. I have my phone and iPod clutched in one hand but the other – the writing hand – is restless. I wring it impatiently, click my fingers urging myself to walk faster, conduct the song I’m listening to and absently play on the keys of an invisible piano.
Finally, my shoes tap-tap-tap against the concrete of my driveway and I’m home, waiting for my dog to be fenced in before the gate is opened for me. Even after a year he’s still unused to having me walk in through the gate rather than drive in and takes it upon himself to give me a thorough inspection to ascertain if I’m to be allowed to proceed. This means launching himself at me full force repeatedly for a good five minutes, until he is convinced that it is actually me and not an evil outsider worthy of a good maul.
Once I’m safely inside the house, I set about my little ritual. Bag on the table. Run upstairs to my room and slip into something more comfortable. Tie my hair up in a careless bun. Make a mug of hot, milky coffee.
And finally, I’m ready to write.