His name was Andre and we were 19. I’d known him for awhile, we dated for three or four weeks when we were 16. After I moved away, we lost contact… only getting back in touch shortly before I moved back stateside after graduation. We decided to give it another go.
Andre was, for lack of a better word, a hippie. He had long hair, long enough to reach his lower back and of which he often kept in a braid or ponytail. He soon started keeping his hair in a hair wrap when I made him one in the style of what was sold at renaissance fairs. He was one that was interested in Buddhism and even used crystal antiperspirants. Andre was the only hippie like boy I had ever fallen for – which may seem unusual considering I was one that was so artistic and bohemian back then.
Andre was a gentleman and would become righteously indignant when somebody did or said something against his sensibilities – like once when some men wolf whistled at me while we were out one evening. We didn’t always get along, but our disagreements or misunderstandings were never very serious. Andre was a British man, though he had lived in Greece when he was younger, and had been in the US for a fair few years at this point as well. He spoke Greek and his mother would sometimes make heavenly Greek food.
I lived about a five hour drive away from him, so we long distanced it up and would visit each other for a week or so at a time. One June day I had driven up, I had visited only for the day as I was in the middle of a weekend visiting another old friend there in Frederick, MD. We walked all over town, doing whatever we were doing, eventually ending up at a park. We were sitting on a swing set, talking and laughing when suddenly it started raining. We ran for the “clam shell” which was an outdoor stage that was covered by a shell shaped roof. We made it to the shelter before getting too wet and pretty much immediately before the utter and complete downpour started. We stared out at the sheets of water that were coming from the sky. One of us said something wondering about how long it would last.
I had a sudden impulse. How many chances would I have to dance in the rain? I grabbed Andre’s hand and pulled him as I ran for the water.
“Emma! What are you doing!?”
“Dancing in the rain! What does it look like?” I said, letting out a laugh.
“You’re nuts!” He exclaimed, but he couldn’t hide his wide smile nor suppress his own laugh.
I lifted my arms and twirled, my face basking in the rain drops. We jumped around like children, we embraced. We kissed. A thought crossed my mind that I might just fall in love with this boy.
I knew if my life had a soundtrack, Jakob Hellman would be singing at this point:
“Kom med och lägg dej här i gräset under mej och
Come and lie in the grass under me and
blöt ner kläderna
soak your clothes
Det är väl vackert väder ovanför molnen
There is beautiful weather over the clouds
men regn där vi står
But rain is where we stand
Åh, de finns ingen vackrare än du
Oh, there is no one more beautiful than you
i din vanliga tröja och i ditt våta hår”
in your ordinary sweater and your wet hair
We were thoroughly soaked. By this time there was no reason to avoid walking in the rain, so after a good several minutes of these shenanigans, we started the walk home. When we got there, his mum was aghast that he would let me get so wet on the walk back. He put my clothes in the dryer as I put on one of his mum’s peasant skirts. He wrung out his hair and put on one of his Thai sarongs and then we climbed into bed and curled up together.