Linda and I are huddled together under an umbrella while Lindsay runs joyfully ahead of us, splashing through puddles and barking at seagulls.
"I wish it would rain," Linda says.
I stick my hand out from under the umbrella and bring it back soaking wet, holding it up for her to see. "What do you call this?"
"That's drizzle," she explains. "I mean rain. A good soaking rain."
"The long range forecast is for a hot dry summer."
"I know. That's why we need as much rain as we can get in the spring. The plants need it."
We splash on through the short wet grasses of spring lamenting the lack of rain.
"How's your back today?" Linda asks.
"Not bad. Much better than the weekend. I only get twinges now if I turn the wrong way or lift something heavy. I really regret missing my Tai Chi class yesterday, but I just couldn't risk it."
"Well you have the tape and there's always next week. You've been very good about going."
Lindsay spots a squirrel on the other side of the park and takes off after it, nose plowing through the wet grass like the prow of a ship. A destroyer, at least in her mind. But the squirrel spots her coming a mile away and scurries up the first available tree.
"Have you ever wanted to do the Gene Kelly thing," Linda wonders.
"What Gene Kelly thing?"
"You know, where you throw away the umbrella and start dancing and singing in the rain?"
"Have you ever heard me sing?"
"Point taken. Forget I mentioned it. The world isn't quite ready for that yet."
Lindsay gives up on the squirrel and comes running back to us, eyes sparkling.
"I know a secret about you," Linda teases me.
"A secret about me?"
"You don't know it because you lack a vanity gene."
"You have to have something to be vain about to have vanity." I point out.
"When's the last time you looked in the mirror?"
"I don't know. When I cleaned my teeth this morning?"
"And did you notice anything?"
"That whitening ingredients in toothpaste don't do a darned thing?"
"Your hair is growing."
"My hair? It is?" I take off my hat and run my fingers across my scalp and feel a certain fuzziness.
And the first thing I do when we get home, is go look in a mirror.
And discover Linda was wrong. I do have a vanity gene after all.
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