Sunday, 11 December 2011

A little more rain

Rain scours the streets.  The wind drives it on, hurling it against the cobbles so that it bounces back up again.  It's coming down hard enough and fast enough that there's a thin film of water on top of the stones and it's a little like paddling when you have to splash your way through it.  William is sheltering under a tree, its spreading branches and still-green leaves holding the water at bay near the trunk.  Further out though the leaves pour steady trickles of water down that find their way down collars and necks, a quick, cold shock to the passer-by halted by the weather.
There's a roar in the distance, at the end of this street the cobbles yield to tarmac and lorries and trucks race each other to see who can leave the city first.  William shivers a little, he's worrying that the rain will become a thunderstorm and then he'll have to leave the shelter of the tree.  He fears the lightning more than he fears getting wet, even though he's wearing his only suit and he needs it for tomorrow when yet another client will be visiting the office.
A woman walks by, high-heels clicking on the stones, her head held high despite the rain side-swiping her in the gusts of wind.  Her hat is a pill-box, black, with little bits of fashionable netting draped here and there and offers her no protection at all; her blouse is thin and revealing in the rain, and her skirt is short.  William forgets for a moment about where he's stood and just gawks, his mouth hanging unconsciously open.  If she sees him she doesn't acknowledge him, and in a staccato succession of clicks she's gone again, another soaken-beauty walking the drabs streets of the city, brightening a rainy day with her presence.
William shivers again and decides that waiting here is pointless penance; the sky is a uniform grey and the rain looks set to carry on forever.  He will run out, run to the metro station and find a train home.  He will hang his suit in the bathroom and hope that it dries before the morning.  He will wonder about the woman all the way home, wishing he'd had the courage to step out and join her.

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