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Love in the Rain
by Joanne Jones

At the age of nineteen, Rochelle had a magical way of looking at life. She seemed to think she could have her cake and eat it too. She was in the “now”, the future didn’t need thinking about. The most awesome man she had ever met had entered her life. She was off to New York in six months. She was having the time of her life.

In six months, Rochelle would graduate with a degree in Apparel Design from Diablo Valley College. Living in Walnut Creek, California now, she would then move to New York to attend the Parson’s School of Design.

Eric had watched Rochelle for months before approaching her. He had his heart stomped on a few times, so he was very cautious. Rochelle was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. This had to be done right.

Eric was a photographer and he was good. He used his camera to meet girls. So, Eric approached Rochelle at school asking her if he could take some pictures of her. That was a new one, she thought, but Rochelle said yes, and this guy looked interesting.

Pictures were taken, they met to look at them and it just grew from there. The next thing Rochelle knew, she was spending a lot of time with Eric. Eric was tall, good-looking, a pilot, a rock climber, a mountaineer. Rochelle had never met anyone like him. She had certainly never done any of the things Eric did.

Carol, Rochelle’s best friend told her to be careful. Eric had a reputation for lovin’ them and leavin’ them. No one had ever left Rochelle so she ignored the idea.

On a Saturday night in November, 1959, Eric turned his ‘49 Ford into Rochelle’s driveway at the end of the short street, stopping next to the giant Oak. It was very late, dark and a wet fall evening. It had been raining all day. The air smelled fresh and woodsy. The porch light made everything sparkle. Music ‘til Dawn on KCBS AM was playing love songs from the 40’s and 50’s, the best make-out music you could find.

Rochelle expected Eric to put his arm around her and slowly pull her to him for a kiss. He didn’t do that. Instead, he started scratching at the steering wheel with his fingernail and gazed out the window, looking very thoughtful.

After spending the evening together, Eric had questions. All during dinner Rochelle had talked about her plans to go to New York. She would be leaving in six months. Once Rochelle went to the Big City, Eric doubted she would ever come back. Better to stop this now.

Rochelle was puzzled. He could talk about all kinds of things. He listened to her, really listened. She kept learning new things about him. When he kissed her, her toes curled.

Eric slowly said, “I think we are moving too fast. Going to New York seems very important to you and I can see why. You’ve got your future all planned out.”

Eric took a deep breath. “Since you’ll be leaving in the spring, I think we should start seeing other people. Not spending so much time together.”

Rochelle went into a trance, forgetting where she was. She jumped out of the car and ran into a very muddy orchard, then hugged a tree trunk and cried hysterically.

Eric followed her footprints into the orchard. “What have I done? I’ve lost her.” He regretted telling her that they should break up. “Rochelle”, he yelled, but no response.

He saw her crying against a tree and pulled her to him. “I’m sorry.” Eric put his hand on her cheek and kissed her, very gently.

Rochelle had just changed the direction of her life. It had to include Eric.