Monday, Jan. 13, 2003, 1:45 AM

Rainy days are here again

Rain. I'm tired of the rain. Relentless torrents of rain. Clogging up the gutters and washing the fun out of life. The rain washes the color out of everything and forms puddles on the sidewalks. All the colors of life are swept into bright streams along the roadside where they are engulfed by a dark sewer with a voracious thirst.

I watch the rain run off my umbrella and fall into one of these rivers. People scurry by trying to find shelter, most of them not taking notice of me. I stand on the curb transfixed by the mini-river at my feet. Leaves, branches, and pieces of paper sweep by and my heart follows.

I hold her faded picture in my hand. One corner is dog-eared and the rest of it is wrinkled from being so long in my wallet. Standing in the rain I realize that me feelings for her have faded just as the picture itself. My memories of her, like the photograph, are fuzzy and slightly out of focus. I know that I am no longer part of her life, just as I'm not part of the picture. I wonder what to do when the wind decides for me - tearing the photo from my hand and gently placing it among the rest of the garbage in the bubbling torrent of water beside the road. I watch her drift among the leaves until a storm drain swallows her, and I wonder if the drain leads to Hell or just the river.

This rain is depressing me, and that's the last thing I need today. Actually, the last thing I need is to see her face, but I suppose there is no avoiding that when my nights are filled with dreams of her. Dreams that she floats through as easily as her picture floated away. She left me empty and hollow so she could haunt me while I sleep. I guess I'll never be free from her until I close the door, but I know that try as I might I just can't lock her out. When did she trade the keys to my heart for the one to my head?

I feel like I am drowning in the city as I watch the buildings swim in the puddles in the ground. Headlights dance in the windows and people drift by like ghosts. Trees stand like silent statues bathing in the rain. Summer was never like this before her.