Behind me as I pulled into the motel is the Reliant Center, where the Houston Texans play football, NFL style. Last summer when we drove by on the way to our destination, they were coming in from a practice; the guys looked big even across the parking lot from a car at road speed driving past.
But this isn’t about football. It’s about rain. (Well sort of…)
There’s a very soft rain that’s been falling tonight. It covers everything, but is at the same time subtle & understated, providing a nonstop backdrop to everything from the gas station across the street to I-610 just down the road to the McDonald’s nearby. It actually started some miles back before I arrived here.
When I checked in, the manager of the motel asked if I needed the shuttle in the morning. I said yes, & he asked where I was going. “M.D. Anderson,” I said. “Oh yes sir," he said, "but which clinic? Main building? Clark?” “Clark,” I said, surprised—and then not surprised—that he knew those sorts of details. When one’s motel is on the list M.D. Anderson distributes to patients, one pretty quickly gets up to speed on the details I guess. He seemed to know a lot about the rain.
And the rain continued to fall.
As I was checking in, two ladies hugged & nailed down their plans for tomorrow. Based on what I heard in their brief conversation, one apparently lives in Houston, whereas the other is here for the same reason many of us are here in this part of town. “So, I’ll pick you up at 8, then? What time’s your appointment?” “Oh, 8’s fine.” And they walked outside.
To face the rain that was still there.
Moving my stuff into the room, I saw two other cars being unloaded. In one, a lady pulled out her schedule & reminded her party of the appointment times. In the other, a lady walked to her room with some effort & sat on the bed while a guy did all the unloading. He asked her “So, what time tomorrow?”
The rain continued.
Denny’s for supper. (Well, breakfast served late, in my case) Most drove through the rain to get there; I just walked, since it was close by. But we all had to deal with the rain.
There was a group of 20-somethings laughing & enjoying each other’s company. One of them—apparently the cause of the gathering—was not as demonstrative in his enjoyment. He had “the look”…no hair on his head, worn-out eyes, very thin, looked like he could lie down in the booth & be instantly asleep. It didn’t seem that he wanted to have to face the rain again. But we all had to.
There was a group of three adults with three little ones that very busily coloring the kids menu with the crayon they were issued to their great delight. One of the ladies was wearing the scarf on her head that so many around this part of town wear. She smiled & such, but was clearly pre-occupied. Understandable, what with the rain & all…
Then there was another young lady—again, with the scarf—excitedly sharing with our server about the new comfy shoe inserts she had discovered that lessened the pain the rain caused just a bit.
I ate my old-guy, night-before-the-P.E.T. scan-approved meal, read a bit to divert my mind (from the rain, of course), chuckled at the odd mix of music, “tweeted” about it, reviewed my own schedule for tomorrow’s festivities, and headed back to this room.
And still, the soft rain fell. Like it always does the night before entering M.D. Anderson.