~ Today it rained. It rained hard. Not hard like a dictator’s steadfast iron will but hard like the pocked knob of an old ball-peen hammer. It rained so hard Nicole ran screaming towards the mall with the umbrella leaving me to lock the car unprotected and scramble after her in a desperate sprint. To reach the relative shelter of the umbrella I had to push aside sheets of rain like layers of silk curtains in a smoke-filled harem. Nicole is a fast runner and was fully halfway across the parking lot before I caught up with her. I was soaked, Nicole slightly less so.