07 June 2010

Running in the Rain

Last night, Elli and I embarked on our run much later than usual (after 22:30). We took to the sleepy streets of Metz, still glossy and reflecting the streetlamps in the glorious calm that always follows the rain. Crossing the river, we passed the Temple Protestant, illuminated by golden lights and casting a perfect mirror image into the dark waters of the Moselle River below.  We always bring our iPods, but seldom end up using them, as we invariably end up discussing our hopes, dreams, and loves.  Tonight was also such a night, and the enchantment of Metz under her veil of night encouraged especially intimate conversation.  After all these months, we are still spellbound by her beauty in all seasons and all times of day. 

As we rounded the lake, a light drizzle became a steady rain, refreshing and cool on our skin. The rain increased in intensity as we crossed the bridge and slowed to a light jog as we continued on the naturally sloping path. At the water’s edge, under the rain, reclined on the wet grass, was a couple, blissfully unabashed, in the throes of passion. Anywhere else in the world, it might have shocked me, but somehow, it seemed perfectly natural and appropriate for this setting.  We giggled to ourselves as we passed, resisting the urge to turn around for a second glance.

The rain increased to a downpour as we crossed the campus of Université Paul Verlaine, and we were completely drenched, laughing hysterically, invigorated. The cathedral loomed high above the city in the distance, the green copper roof and golden brick taking on an otherworldly glow.  We noticed some graffiti on the side of the university restaurant, which said “SEE THE WORLD.” We paused. It had not been there on our previous runs. It was like an omen. We threw our hands in the air and screamed, lost in the beauty of the moment.

As we reentered the centre-ville, we raced down the center of the road, as there was no traffic.  Many Messins, caught without umbrellas, were taking shelter from the downpour in the doorways of cafés and beneath arcades.  They seemed so awkward, so constrained in their dutiful efforts to preserve their immaculate clothing, makeup, and belongings, and completely bewildered by the two joyful spirits sprinting past, unencumbered by rain, by anything. We were free. We were flying.

We even dared to run through Place Saint Jacques, where well-dressed women smirked at our antics while the men shouted encouragement! “Allez les filles! Allez les sportives!” “Prenez votre douche” “Bon courage!”

Bonsoir!” we smiled, without losing stride.

Amazing how something as simple as running in the rain could create such a profound memory that neither one of us is likely to forget. Whether or not I return to France next year, my days in Metz with these wonderful friends are numbered.  Only a few precious weeks remain of our nine months together, and I find myself clinging to each moment like a priceless jewel, trying to lock each one inside my mind.


  1. You are such a great writer. I felt captured by your imagery in this post. Very nice! Keep it up, love!

  2. Hi Jaimie- I'm an American in Toulouse, stopping by to say hi. I saw your post on the expat blog. Eat, Pray, Love should be coming here soon, hopefully in the original (English) version. You in?

  3. Your time in Metz may be short, but your frienships are not! One day you'll get a knock or a call and there one of them will be! You are truly blessed!

  4. Anonymous said...
    Your time in Metz may be short, but your frienships are not! One day you'll get a knock or a call and there one of them will be! You are truly blessed!

    Oh yeah...Love, Dad!


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