Purple Science

Have you ever been rained on when it wasn’t raining?  Or been on the dry side of a street while you can see the rain falling on the other side of the intersection?  Weird, right?  And really neat.  There’s something magical about experiencing nature like that – seeing what you know to be possible academically.  You know the rain you’re feeling is coming from the tree above you, and that the tree collected rain during the rainfall that still needs to go somewhere after the storm passes.  You get it, and it’s still odd.  If, like me, you grew up reading Winnie the Pooh you likely get an instant-Eeyore feeling before your brain does the math and catches up with the “real” reason for what you’re experiencing.  That brief moment, though, is delicious.  You’re transported into make-believe and get to feel the rush of whatever emotions that moment conjures up for you.  When science pops back in you probably look around to see if anyone else is joining you in your magical moment, and you know who is because you get to share a quick, sheepish grin before carrying on with your day.  I looked for these moments, as a break from my life.  They never felt like enough, though.

Real life always came back, just like science always won.  No matter how many magic moments presented themselves, real life was waiting to apply its weight on my shoulders.  Work, school, kids – and that was just in my immediate sphere.  National and international issues got in on the real-life game, too.  I needed those magical moments.  If I hadn’t had them I’m not sure what would have done.  They kept me going.  Now?  Now I don’t know what to think.

I mean, what would YOU think if you stumbled across the street from the dry side into the rain only to find yourself unable to feel the drops?  Yeah, I thought I was hallucinating, too, until the big purple guy tapped me on the shoulder.  Yes.  Purple.  Not his clothes – HIM.  He was bigger than should have been possible and 100% purple.  He tapped me on the shoulder like it was as natural as can be to be an impossibly huge purple guy standing dry in a rain storm.  He tapped and, once I turned to look at him, gestured for me to follow him.  I looked around to see if anyone else could see this ridiculousness and found myself totally alone.  No one was in sight.  No cars were driving by, no cyclists, no pedestrians.  On the dry side of the street I hadn’t been alone – I mean, it was 5:15 pm on a Tuesday!  The street had been filled with activity!  Now?  Nothing.  Just me and Mr. Purple.  I turned back to where he’d been and saw him walking away from me, continuing to gesture for me to follow every few steps.  What else was I supposed to do?  I started following, still trying to figure out what the hell was going on.  All the buildings looked normal, at least.  The dream possibility was high, though I could have sworn I’d been leaving work after a normal day.

Mr. Purple didn’t say a word and just kept walking.  We were following the route to home, which was good and bad.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to think about why Mr. Purple knew where I lived and what we might find when we got there, if that was where we were headed at all.  Instead I kept my eyes peeled for any signs of people or of dream-fodder.  I have this crazy recurring dream that involves a Ferris wheel and I rarely have a nightmare or unsettling dream that doesn’t have at least a passing appearance by the creepy carnival appliance.  The streets we waked down were, as far as I could see, Ferris-wheel free, and we were getting really close to home.  At some point along the way I noticed the lack of animals, too.  No squirrels, no birds, no rabbits – just me, Mr. Purple, and the buildings.

As we turned down my street my heart started pounding, and then I got worried that it hadn’t been pounding before now. My apparent past-calm contributed to my current anxiety.  We were clearly going to my home and Mr. Purple knew the way.  What was there?  Would my family be ok?  Would they be gone like everyone else?  I couldn’t decide which I wanted more – to find them home and greet them with Mr. Purple or to find them gone and be left alone with him.  I didn’t get time to decide – he was opening the door to my home and, even though he shouldn’t have been able to fit, going inside.  I had to follow him and see what there was to see.

My wife was sitting on the couch as calm as could be, and our dog happily bounced between me and Mr. Purple with wet hellos. I took in the scene with what had to be the most incredulous expression on my face.  My wife stood up, calmed the dog, and walked over to Mr. Purple.  She looked up at him and, even though she didn’t utter a word, it was clear she communicated something to him.  He turned around and walked back out of the door, onto the silent street.

She turned to me next, a small smile on her face.  I opened my mouth to say something, though I have no idea what might have tumbled out in that moment.  She raised her hand to stop me and said, “So about your “science…”

My life hasn’t been the same since.

**All 30-minute musing posts are fiction**

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