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The Madonna Timeline: Song #66 – ‘Rain’ – Fall 1992/Summer 1993

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{Note: The Madonna Timeline is an ongoing feature, where I put the iPod on shuffle, and write a little anecdote on whatever was going on in my life when that Madonna song was released and/or came to prominence in my mind.}

I feel it
It’s coming…

It turns out I’ve already written about the next iPod selection for the Madonna Timeline, ‘Rain’, but it was before the official Timeline came into existence, so I’m putting the original up here now. It was written a couple of years ago, but it’s a memory that’s true, a memory that has lasted, and a memory that still matters.

Rain – feel it on my fingertips, hear it on my windowpane,
Your love’s coming down like rain.
Wash away my sorrow, take away my pain,
Your love’s coming down like rain.

Sixteen years ago I did not have my driver’s license. I was old enough to drive, I just hadn’t gotten around to making it officially legal, mostly because I didn’t care. Still, I loved sneaking out at night when my parents had gone to bed, putting the car in reverse, and starting it as the wheels eased out of the driveway.

When your lips are burning mine
And you take the time to tell me how you feel
When you listen to my words
And I know you’ve heard, I know it’s real
Rain is what this thunder brings
For the first time I can hear my heart sing
Call me a fool but I know I’m not
I’m gonna stand out here on the mountain top

That Fall was difficult for me on a number of levels. It’s not worth going into depth about it – it was simply a lonely time, and the onslaught of dreary gray weather did nothing to abate my melancholy. As a cold rain began to come down, I drove out of the small city and onto the back roads of upstate New York.

Rain – feel it on my fingertips, hear it on my windowpane,
Your love’s coming down like rain.
Wash away my sorrow, take away my pain,
Your love’s coming down like rain.

The rain was tearing the leaves from the trees – dark brown ones from the lofty reaches of grand oaks were driven down by the wind. The car sped along the messy road. Back in my bedroom, a plastic bag, a large rubber band, and a bottle of sleeping pills awaited my return. A page of the suicide manual ‘Final Exit’ was marked, its instructions strangely void of emotion, no guidance on what to feel.

When you looked into my eyes and you said good-bye,
Could you see my tears?
When I turned the other way, did you hear me say,
I’d wait for all the dark clouds bursting in a perfect sky
You promised me when you said good-bye
That you’d return when the storm was done
And now I’ll wait for the light, I’ll wait for the sun…

The road turned, twisting itself along a line of trees. Rain pelted the windshield, a curtain of falling leaves parted for the car, and my sweaty palms and wet eyes glazed the glass between us. On the radio they were playing an as-yet-unreleased Madonna album, ‘Erotica’ (back when radio did that sort of thing). I would never get to hear it in its entirety, not if everything went according to plan. It was the one drawback to ending it that night. I could bitterly rejoice at skipping all my math homework due the next day, and defiantly put off cleaning my room – add it to the mess I was leaving – but I would not be able to hear the rest of Madonna’s music, not if I left tonight.

Rain – feel it on my fingertips, hear it on my windowpane,
Your love’s coming down like rain.
Wash away my sorrow, take away my pain,
Your love’s coming down like rain.

It was a simple ballad with a simple chord progression and a simple resounding theme of yearning, and if Madonna was having a rough go of it then how could anyone, much less myself, be expected to do any better?

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say, never go away…

So I decided to wait, at least until the album came out and I could get a proper listen, promising myself that I could always come back to where my head was at and do it right then.

Waiting is the hardest thing
(It’s strange I feel like I’ve known you before)
I tell myself that if I believe in you
(And I want to understand you)
In the dream of you
(More and more)
With all my heart and all my soul
(When I’m with you)
That by sheer force of will
(I feel like a magical child)
I will raise you from the ground
(Everything strange)
And without a sound you’ll appear
(Everything wild)
And surrender to me, to love

There would be other attempts at self-annihilation, and there will always be that part of me that sometimes wishes to go away, but for that moment, that night, the simple promise of a Madonna song was enough to bring me to another day. It was the night a Madonna song saved my life.

I feel it,
It’s coming,
Your love’s coming down like…
Rain.

Song #66 – ‘Rain’ – Fall 1992/Summer 1993

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