the rain

by Lara A., 14

When the rain comes
and all of the water washes off the trees,
I stand outside and imagine that
the water washes me off,
that all of my mistakes are left behind 
in the street and in the drains.

When I moved here,
I had them on my skin like
tattoos or scars.
I made them apparent with words
inked all over my arms and legs 
and every thought I’ve ever thought
made the transition from mind to skin.

I used to like the feeling of ink drying on my hands
and the sting of the pen as I drew
and the way the words sank into my blood.
I used to like the way they’d smudge and smear.
Then the rain came,
and the fog
and the frost
and all of the things that had plagued me
went away.

Once, I thought the rain didn’t do anything.
I thought I was fooling myself, wetting my clothes for nothing.
I wanted to hold myself accountable
for the rest of my life.
I wanted my mistakes to sit there always, 
like a reminder,
a post-it note on my desk, or 
a notification on my phone.

It didn’t work. 
The iodine didn’t feel the same as water, but
when the winter came and I felt those drops of rain 
fall onto my cheeks and nose,
I knew that everything I didn’t carve into my own skin
was washed away.
But for now, I had to live
with the blood and sorrow I caused.

I had to learn my lesson.

Next autumn, 
I will look up at the darkening sky
and at my feet, which are undoubtedly rooted in dead leaves and grass,
and at my arms, and my legs,
and see the smooth skin,
just veins and hair follicles,
no redness, no dark scratches,
clean and pretty, like they are meant to be.

And as those first drops of rain fall,
I will be happy.

Jordan, Hong Kong