Wendy had a dress; a lovely white dress. Wendy had a lovely white dress… that could make it rain. The first few times she wore the beautiful garment she thought the sudden downpour was just an unhappy coincidence. After the fifth time getting soaked to the bone, she decided to put her theory to the test. Wendy wore her white dress every day for two weeks. And every day for two weeks the skies would open and the rain would fall, only ceasing when Wendy arrived home and removed the dress.
This strange phenomenon was a most unwelcome one for Wendy and placed her in quite the pickle, as I shall explain.
You see, Wendy was preparing to devote her life to the church, due to receive her veil in just six months’ time. Being a chaste and modest creature, Wendy was mortified to learn (quite a bit after the fact) that each time she wore her lovely white dress which inevitably signaled the heavens to open, Wendy’s dress went from a lovely and girlishly-innocent frock to a clingy and sheer slip that was little more than an advertisement of Wendy’s undergarments. Finally noticing this shocking transformation Wendy tried desperately to cover her exposed knickers (which in Wendy’s case translated to ‘granny panties’) and she ran home she vowed never to wear the abhorrent dress again.
This might have been the end of our story had Wendy but chosen to dispose of the dress instead of toss it into the back of her closet. She might have gone on, happily studying for the nunnery, never to think of her white dress again had she just destroyed the dress. But life is never that easy, is it? Short answer: no, it isn’t.
As it happened, while Wendy was desperately trying to forget her public display of panties, Wendy’s region of the world was experiencing one of the worst droughts in over 100 years. The earth was scorched. Severely dehydrated animals from the wooded areas around the city began to wander into town on scalded paws in a desperate search for water. Brush fires began erupting all over the landscape and citizens were warned to conserve every ounce of water they could. Meteorologists and environmental scientists could only scratch their heads at the alarming lack of precipitation and began looking worriedly at the crystal blue skies in what should have been their rainy season.
All the while, Wendy poured herself into her studies and prayer book, in an attempt to stay preoccupied. After a few weeks of the unbearably hot and dry weather, Wendy stopped leaving her home- everywhere she went there were reminders of the lack of rain. It was on the tip of every tongue, it was in all the headlines, it was a news feed running constantly on the perimeter of Wendy’s life. The growing guilt she tried unsuccessfully to ignore, slowly began to overwhelm her. Knowing she had the power to help but paralyzed by the embarrassment she would have to endure as a result… Wendy chose to ignore the situation entirely. And so, she plodded on, hoping that rain would come. Knowing it wouldn’t.
The day of her veiling marked the 90th consecutive day without rain. The city was a dusty shadow of its former glistening glory. Every surface and building had a film to it, every citizen she encountered on the way to the church looked sun-bleached and brittle, as if even the moisture in their bodies had dried up. Sweating profusely in her woolen habit, Wendy tried to turn a blind eye, convinced that once she was in her rightful place within the church walls all would be right again.
Arriving at the church, Wendy gasped in horror at what she saw. The once pristine and emerald-green lawns were now brown and dead. The bubbling fountain in tribute to St. Francis was caked in weeks-old dried mud and a large crack had ruptured the sculpture of the peaceful Saint right through his face and torso. The roses, once the pride of the church now were withered sticks with nothing but mean looking thorns to alert observers that they had in fact, been roses once.
The bishop of that holy place hobbled from the cooler shadows to greet the soon-to-be newest member of his flock. Attempting a look of joy and jubilation, he only managed to convey just how frail he was- the skin of his hands felt like sandpaper in Wendy’s. The man was in desperate need of water, and Wendy told him so as meekly as she could manage despite her growing panic at the man’s faltering health. The bishop curved his blistered and cracked lips into a smile and informed Wendy that he was reserving his day’s water ration for her, as a gift.
Tears of outrage and humility sprung to Wendy’s eyes. How could she have been so selfish? How could she have been so prideful to put her own modesty ahead of the well-being of every other life in her city and perhaps, her country?Realizing her decision had already been made; Wendy pressed a kiss to the cheek of the bishop and asked his forgiveness, hoping that in his wisdom he would understand what she now had to do.
Running as fast as she could through the barren streets, Wendy all but crashed through her front door in her haste to do what was required of her. Sprinting to her bedroom closet, Wendy searched feverishly until she found the crumpled ball that was her lovely white dress. Undressing quickly, she threw the dress over her head and zipped up the back. Not even taking the time to put on shoes, Wendy threw her front door open and ran into the street. Casting her head to the heavens and her arms out to her sides, she waited for the deluge she knew would come.
Wendy opened one eye and looked at the sky. Not a cloud in sight. Dropping her arms, Wendy felt as if she may collapse in disappointment and frustration. How could this be happening? Now, when she needed it the most and had accepted her fate, the rain refused to come- she couldn’t understand it. Feeling small and helpless, Wendy fell to her knees and wept. But the tears would not come either; she was too dehydrated to even weep.
And then she felt it- a cool sensation on the back of her hand. She stared at the moisture in confusion and checked her eyes to see if she had, in fact, produced a tear. Feeling her bone-dry face, Wendy began to wonder if she had imagined the entire thing when another drop fell on her arm. And then another… and another.
It was raining.
The rain was a quiet cleansing rain, falling only in quantities that allowed the parched earth to soak it in but not be overrun by it. It was the most beautiful thing Wendy had ever seen. Laying down in the street, she began to laugh in complete abandon as her neighbors poured out of their homes and frolicked in the blessed rain. No one cared that her dress was now completely see-through; not even Wendy.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: It never fails. The forecast could be for sunshine all day but if I decide to wear my white pants, then you can almost guarantee that it will rain in Orlando (or wherever I happen to be while wearing said pants). I wore them today, and as you may intuit, it rained… a lot. Oh well, I guess it could be worse, at least I wasn’t wearing a white top… I thought about what it would be like to have a magical rain-inducing garment. Would I sacrifice my own modesty for the betterment of the community if called upon to ‘make it rain’? I’d like to think so. Perhaps it’s time to invest in some nicer undergarments.
Love & Squirrels.