The day started like any other normal day would.
I made my way to work at around 10am to open my shop. I run an electronics repair store with a friend of mine. We aren’t particularly busy, but it pays the bills. And next month, everyone’s gonna be upgrading their phones. It’s gonna be a busy month and hopefully, it’ll make up for how slow September’s been.
So I opened my store like any other day. My buddy wouldn’t be coming in until around 3pm. I open, he closes. He has chemo in the morning most days so he can’t really make it any earlier. It’s really such a terrible shame, he’s only 26. But I guess some people just get unlucky.
The forecast called for rain today, and I could tell it would be on it’s way any minute now. The front of my store is covered in large panes of glass, so you could see most of the parking lot. It’s quite peaceful when it storms, even if it tends to kill business for the day. You can usually hear the rains gentle pitter patter against the window. Usually.
Until one day. Today.
My buddy, let’s call him John, came in at around 2:55 that day. Right before the big storm. I smiled at him as he walked in and made his way to the back of the store to put his uniform on. I got lost in thought for a few minutes watching YouTube videos on the newest and greatest technological advancements this year, otherwise known as a huge pain in the ass for us, as companies continue to make their devices more complicated, which also translates to more difficult and expensive to repair. When suddenly, I felt a hand rest on my shoulder. I looked back and smiled at John.
“Hey bud, what’s wr-“
I stopped mid sentence. His face. I will always remember that face. His eyes were wide and his mouth gaped open slightly. I followed his gaze to the front of the store. It was raining outside. Not just raining, but absolutely pouring. I could barely see past my front windows. But that wasn’t the strange part. The strange part was..
It was completely silent.
I know in some buildings, you might not hear the rain. Not this one. This was a little run down shop that was part of a larger plaza of stores. Once, we had a busted gutter that poured water right in front of the store next door when it rained and that wasn’t fixed for a whole month. Basically, what I’m trying to say is, the walls (and windows) are thin. You can hear the rain.
But not this time. This time, it was completely silent. I stopped and stared as well for what felt like minutes, before looking back at my coworker. He was making his way to the door.
I made an offhand joke about him letting all the AC out again as he made his way to the front of the store. But in reality, I was scared. Something deep inside of me was screaming that this was wrong. It’s that part of your mind that is responsible for your animal like instincts, the ones that kept you alive 100,000 years ago. I told him to stop again. This time, there wasn’t even a hint of sarcasm behind my voice.
“But why is it-“
“I don’t know.” I stated, in such a serious tone that I even surprised myself somewhat. “But you need to come back here. Don’t open that door.” I finished.
He scuffed at me, like I was his mom telling him he was grounded. And to be fair, it did sound strange. He’s a grown ass man, and I’m telling him he can’t open a door. It was bizarre, but at the moment, many things weren’t normal.
I made my way around the counter and started making my way to the front of the store. I had to stop him. Everything in me told me I had to stop him.
But it was too late. He pushed that door wide open, and what we saw shocked us both. I stopped in my tracks, about halfway through our lobby.
It was sunny. It was a bright and beautiful day outside. I could feel the warmth come in the moment he opened the door. It looked like any other Summer afternoon. No rain. No craziness. Just another cozy day.
Until I looked back at the windows. And realized something.
It was still raining.
I looked from the windows to the door, then back again. How many times, I do not know. All I knew was, it was pouring rain silently against the windows, but looking through the door, you wouldn’t know it.
I heard my coworker mutter “It’s you. It’s really you..” as I watched him take a step outside. I rushed to the front of the store and made a grab for the door, but it was too late. It closed behind him. When I opened it back up, he was gone. The sunny day was gone. And for the first time, I could hear the rain.
I shut the door and opened it several more times. I wanted to get him back. I wanted to figure out what the fuck was going on. But it was no use. All I did was soak the rug under me as I let the rain pour in. Finally, I closed the door completely, and took another look out the windows. Normally, rain would sound calm to me. Not anymore.
I thought about calling the police, but what would I say? What would I even begin to say? Nobody would believe me. Nobody would believe that my friend, the person who I opened this store with over 2 years ago, vanished into another dimension.
Months had passed, and after that day, we went through the longest dry spell I’ve seen in awhile. No rain. Until one day.
I was posting a help wanted ad on craigslist, as morbid as that sounds, I needed help. I can’t work 80 hour weeks anymore. It was really taking a toll on me and my family. By now, I’d basically convinced myself that John just up and quit. That my memories were going, and that everything I saw that day was just a part of my imagination. And for the longest time, that kept me sane.
Until the silent rain returned.
Unlike last time, this rain was completely unexpected. The forecast showed a cold and dry afternoon. But that wasn’t what I saw when I was grabbing my ‘Be back in 5’ sign, and getting ready to pick up lunch from across the street.
Just like last time, the windows were almost completely covered in pouring rain. I didn’t hear it, of course, but I couldn’t help but peer into it. That’s when I saw him.
John. Looking back at me. At least, I think it was John. He had the same bald head and oversized boots that John wore. It was hard to tell as he was being pelted by the storm. He looked at me, and somehow, I knew he was smiling. He beckoned for me to join him, for me to open the door. And see the beautiful world that snatched him away just a short time ago.
I turned around, walked right back into my storage room, and sat there, covering my face for what felt like hours. When I walked back out, the rain had stopped. It wasn’t even wet outside. Somehow I knew it wouldn’t be.
I sold that store less than a month later, and took up managing a different business in a completely different state. Since then, the silent rain hasn’t returned. And I pray it never does. Because next time, I don’t know if I can resist. I sometimes ponder what I saw outside that door. I remember a beautiful sunny afternoon, but that could’ve just been my take on it.
Sometimes I wonder what it’s like, or why John wanted me to join him. It may sound crazy, but I actually have a theory as to what was behind that door. What caused the rain to pour so quietly.
I think what I saw was Heaven.
Credit: Paul Campbell