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Rainy delight

February 6, 2021

We were both soaking wet.

I was wearing a plastic ’emergency poncho’ that I had picked up for free at an airshow earlier in the summer. It covered my upper torso, but not my lower half. My pants, from the thighs on down, were streaked with rain. My shoes squeaked from water with every step.

Kat was much, much more fashionably protected from the elements. She wore a natty burgundy raincoat and, smartly, wielded an umbrella. But the umbrella was one of those personal-sized jobbies, big enough really for only the holder. We shared it anyway. So she got wet.

However, what really completed the ensemble was an adorable water-repellant navy blue bucket hat, flecked with little white polka dots. It kept any stray droplets of rain out of her long blonde hair.

Kat prefers never to get wet when she’s outside. It’s actually a pet peeve of hers. “I’m made of sugar, so I’ll melt!”, she would pout in mock protest.

But today, none of that mattered to her. Today required her to be out in the elements. Because today was the day I promised her I would take her to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Even in the pouring rain.

We were in Paris, of course.

This trip was long overdue–over 10 years, in fact. Because of my often callously rigid work schedule, I completely missed being home for her 40th birthday.

She understood why I wasn’t there, sure. But even when I returned home a few days after the date, greatly apologetic, with a bottle of wine and a measly card tucked under my arm, she was still miffed. I had planned no great gathering, no momentous celebration. I actually didn’t think it was that big of a deal.

Boy was I wrong.

“For my 50th birthday, you are taking me to Paris!”, she stated unequivocally, followed by a look that said “And that’s just for starters!”

Fair enough, mon amour. Paris it is. To the Eiffel Tower. Champagne at the top. How’s that sound?

“Tres bien!” said Kat.

So here we were. Ten years later. Clutching firm tickets–rain or shine–to the top of that gorgeous 120+ year-old (by then) wrought iron icon of all that is French. Standing on the narrow outdoor walkway that surrounds the uppermost balcony on the top floor. Because we are almost 1000 feet above the ground at present, we are entirely shrouded in clouds. Rain clouds.

There are no grand views of Paris for us to behold this day. As we nudge our faces through the latticework fencing that keeps spectators from plunging to certain death, all we can see outward is straight down, along with grey sheets of rain cascading from the heavens.

But none of that matters. It’s still a breathtaking place to stand, on this balcony, of this incredible landmark. Even if we can’t see anything and we’re soaking wet.

Because we actually made it here. Because I kept my promise (the champagne would get sipped a few minutes later).

Kat was beaming.

And just for a souvenir to forever capture her joy, I told her to stand with her back to the tower. I wanted to take her photo.


There she is, next to a brief description of Gustave Eiffel’s office way up there written in both French and English. In her rain-spattered coat. In that darling blue polka dot hat. With a rogue tendril of her blonde locks tumbling aside her most beautiful smile.

It is the most delightful image I have ever captured of her.

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