Walk, Soft Rain
I’m feeling ashamed because I haven’t written in awhile, but my feet are walking, mind moving, I can feel a subdued pride trying to swell inside. While the rain patters down on my head, I feel cold drops turning my brown hair into a soaked, tangled mess. Like the rain, I feel like everything I thought I knew about myself is tumbling down. Thunderclouds moving in and lightning crackling overhead. There are people around me, it’s in the middle of the day—apparently—however the clouds make it seem as if night has arrived.
Nothing is out of place. The whole world is running the way it should be. People are walking about, some of them calmly seated behind the steering wheels of their cars, and others slapping the leather, cursing at a stranger they don’t know in the next vehicle over. Baristas are making espressos that are too hot, bound to burn some poor man’s tongue because his mind is cluttered with the stress of his job and an unfaithful life. An elderly couple that’s seen all the banal days I have and countless more, who learned—just by a few more decades—how to live through it with a smile, better than I.
My feet step into a shallow puddle and water splashes over the bottom of my pants.
I can see my apartment, growing ever darker from the storm clouds, cold from the lack of heating because I can only afford one meal a day—lucky if I can get two—forget about warming up the place in the middle of winter. Sometimes I stay outside because it distracts me from all the work piling up on my writing desk. Usually I wander from libraries or parks to read and think away the time. It’s not the worst addiction, I suppose, but in my eyes I am a colossal disappointment. Somehow I can’t resist away from the distractions. When I return to the writing desk, my hands fumble with the words, and I feel like a juggler out of practice with his equipment. Everything falls apart. The page remains a blank mess.
At the corner of an intersection, a group of strangers are signaled to move across the street. When I look at the emptiness that they left behind, I see a cat sitting there—alone, at the corner. Its coat is soaking wet, but I can tell it has mocha brown fur with grey stripes running across. It stares up at me with black eyes that are so glossy they look like marbles.
I crouch down and stare back at it. Just as I reach a hand out to pet it between its ears, it hisses at me and plunges into the middle of the street. But it stops. It looks at me defiantly as if to say, “I am safe here. Your hand can’t hurt me here.” But it is not at a safe distance. Across from the cat, a red streetlight swapped to green, and the cars are starting to rush toward it. I know that it won’t get out of the way in time, and even if someone had the reflexes to dodge it, it would cause a massive collision. The cat will only respond to me.
I drop the cigarette that I was about to light, and shout, “Run you stupid cat!” It flinches, but still the cat won’t budge—not completely. I jump into the street as if to grab her, and only then does it respond, and sprints to the safety of the other curb, meanwhile I’m standing there like an idiot. And just as I take step back to safety, a driver that wasn’t paying attention honks his horn—too late—and clips my arm. My body twists. I feel the snap of my ankle—crack!—in my head like the sound a speaker makes when it bursts.
My arm goes numb. There’s no support, so my body falls toward the road, and another car slams against my shoulder before someone has the brains to slam the breaks.
I was an idiot, after all. I suppose I deserved it? It was just a cat.
The fun, unconscious ride to the hospital was not covered by my insurance, and getting treatment for my wounds, (including a skin graft, two casts and a splint), was also, conveniently, left for me to pay. It’s a good thing that humans don't survive much on food, right?
Anyways, when I wheeled myself to my writing desk the first night I got back to my place, I finally had something to write about.