Joshua’s Rain Room
We sat criss cross on the floor of his bedroom. Across from him I watch him drop his pen and look up abruptly. Creasing my eyebrows I meet his gaze.
“I love the rain.” He declares.
I roll my eyes looking back to my homework. “So does everyone. Next you're gonna say you’ve always had an adoration for sunsets. I’ve seen that movie 37 times.”
“No I mean it.” His eyes get wide now and his hands land square on both my shoulders. “I’ll buy a house one day. I’ll have a skylight window in my bedroom directly over my bed so I can watch the rain coat the glass at night. Actually scratch that, I want a hole. A hole in the ceiling so when it rains the water will just-” And then he uses his outstretched arm to palm himself in the face.
I giggle but he isn’t joking. I realize this is a side of him I haven’t seen and so I put my pencil down and search his expression. He wants me to take this seriously. Separate from his usual rambling and playful conversation while we work. So I fix my countenance and nod solemn.
Suddenly he looks nervous, unsure. He opens his mouth and then shakes his head softly closing it again.
“What?” I say breaking his silence.
“I try not to presume what heaven will be like. But I don’t think it’s wrong for me to think about things that God loves being there, that makes sense doesn’t it?”
“I guess so.” I say this slowly wondering where he’s about to take this.
"When I pray." He begins. "Sometimes I've asked if it be his will that I could have a rain room."
The corners of my mouth want to curl up at the childish honesty of his words but I stay straight and serious so he'll keep talking.
"What's that mean?" I prod.
"I want a room, an empty room where it just rains. A pouring constant sweet rain that echoes for miles contained in one room." He's smiling now. His voice has risen a bit louder filling up the room with theatricality. "And well it's eternity isn't it? I could literally spend a thousand years in the rain room. People would ask like, hey where's josh? And you can just tell them that I've been standing in a torrential downpour for the last century, that I'll be back sometime soon. I couldn't get pneumonia because this rain wouldn't have the capacity to do anything but give glory to the father. No wrinkly fingers, no slipping, no runny nose. That's what I want, a rain room. A room that's raining forever and ever."
And as he wound down I just stared at him. It was one of those moments where I knew I'd remember the conversation forever. That one day as I went about my day this would come back to me and I'd get sent right back to Joshua's bedroom floor in the middle of November. I knew that night I would pray that Josh would get a beautiful rain room. One that fulfilled and exceeded his wildest dreams.
"You love the rain." I conceded sorry that I ever questioned something so sacred to him.
"Damn right." He said and went right back to fielding with a math problem as if he didn't just blow my mind. I wasn't sure why this little peek of him changed my perception so abruptly but hey, I wasn't complaining.
Looking back now that he's been gone 7 months and 4 days. I know he's got a rain room somewhere. I know it was beyond his wildest dreams. The tears still come when I recall the boyish smile sitting criss cross on his bedroom floor. The one who had no idea what would come to pass 3 weeks later. I still can't look at the photos. I can't not rush to my phone every time it dings the ringtone that used to be his frequent replies. And when people ask me about him, there's a whole life of stories I could tell them. A boy who loved with reckless abandon. Who stopped at nothing to make the shy kid in the room feel included. Who told bedtime stories like no one you'd ever met. But I always say the same thing with the same guarded grin, Joshua loved the rain.