Having been forecast to begin raining at 5:00, the clouds oblige; and at 5:04, it comes down, raindrops the size of dinner plates.
The general downtown population responds as if martial law has been declared; and a couple in a vehicle the size of a team of Clydesdales, lured by the seduction of a yellow light, has wandered into a ped-xing zone, where they find themselves engulfed in pedestrians, all of whom are thinking of hitting their hood with an umbrella but don’t.
We board our buses, slightly moistened. The man who sits down next to me, a perpetually unsmiling, grizzled sort I’ve seen every work day for at least five years, promptly closes his eyes.
It’s been raining for days. The sky hangs low and heavy; and the Mississippi River rushes to meet it, throwing itself over the falls near the bridge and up into the air in a mist that mingles with the clouds.
On both sides of the bus, we turn to watch. One day frozen over, one day free of ice, time is marked by the river.
The river is wide, I think.
Pleased with this thought, I turn to my seatmate, then quickly turn away. He is sleeping, and I am struck by this intimacy.
I steal another look. Eyes closed, face slack, he is vulnerable and touchingly human. It’s just me and this guy on the bus, I think. We’re going to make it work, whatever it takes.
I look back out the window.
It’s been raining for days.