Friday, June 12, 2009

No Umbrella

I stepped out of the late-dinner time emptying curry house into the now pouring and growing steadier rain; settling in for the evening where's before it's just a trickle. I was filled to the brim with a couple of rounds of naan and korma. Warmed with the mild spice of India in my stomach and the free chai tea, for how long I'd been seated.

The rain was dashes of bright light with the swarm of cars filling, or rather leaving, the streets. I unsheathed my last Seven Star Charcoal Filter Cigarette and lit it amidst my new friends unbuttoning and stretching out their umbrellas. We said our goodbyes and I lingered; standing for a second to exhale the first drawn in breath of smoke into the misty night to sit, just before disappearing into the specs of rain.

It was getting late, so heading the opposite way I braved the rain and traipsed up towards the station. I entered a sea of collapsing umbrellas and splashing water; commuters like dogs all in from the ocean. There were colours of the rainbow and suits and ties piling past me, ticket stubs falling fast; everyone seemed headed my other direction.

I walked, following the sound of the trains rolling away like the thunder that never came, with a flash of bright-lit, fluoro-filled carriages like the lighting that never split. I approached where the overhead train line grew up and away; the concrete pillars holding the tracks up and took whatever shelter I could from the straight-down falling rain. It was growing heavier as I kept my cigarette from the wet, just hoping it'd stay lit long enough to get me home.

Crunch, crunch; the gravel and stones underneath my beaten black winkle pickers talked and groaned under my weight as I tread between the reversed-in parked cars either side of the pillars. The wind was still, with little bite and the night air was still thick and humid from the overcast day. I hummed a tune, a song for you. And began to sing aloud the words in my head, so I'd remember what I meant. I stepped carefully through the storm water filling guttering and continued on the upslope to my apartment drifting through the river.

My shirt was now soaked through and I could feel the cold of the pressed in metal buttons against my skin, letting the rain crawl in. My black jeans were turning blacker than the night's sky as they lapped up the rain falling from my hair and torso and where the drops ran down my belt into my pockets. My this-morning sprayed and pasted quiffed up black hair was falling from it's place, curled and licked across the forehead of my face. I could see it in my upwards vision, when I dared raise my gaze from my feet. I could see and smell and feel the diluting and dissolving hairspray as it ringed from my hair, perfuming and drowning my neck and chest and nose. I daren't touch it for the glug that it'd turn in my hands and I could sense it levelling out flatter and flatter on my head with each step.

I stopped under the carport of a nearby my apartment block of units and sat down to take a breath. I pulled my laptop from my leather satchel, fortunately invested in well to keep out the wet and rain. I lifted the lid and switched it on and connected swift to the borrowed internet. Tiring and boring quickly and easily of everything I flicked through, I tilted it towards me for some warmth. I closed the lid and patted my breast pocket and sifted through my bag realising I had no more cigarettes left. Fuck.

The walk back to the store wasn't that far but in this rain and storm it seemed quite a stretch. None-the-less I resorted no other choice, knowing that I'd not want to arrive home and wake in the morning to have nothing to smoke. So I picked myself and my bad up and stepped again into the rain and followed the road towards the fluorescent havens. I couldn't bring myself the effort to step again through and under the train line, so I walked head down by the close of the neighbouring building walls and fences and tried pretending not feel the cold so much.

As I neared the convenience store I passed through the very empty and open bus station terminal. The only sound; the rain steadily drumming and empty beer cans rattling as they rolled with the wind down the slowing incline. Only a few strange and strays were about now, the hustle and bustle of the evening trains dissipated already.

I stepped through the automatic doors of the convenience store, where the air-con was still blasting fifteen degrees from the days warmth. Wrapping my arms together around and to themselves I lurched through the aisles, having forgotten the instance I walked in what I'd come for. Staring as I walked at all the miscellaneous and seemingly new or mysterious condiments, powders, tinned varieties, whiskeys and liquors it came to me my point of journey and I approached the counter.

I could barely bring myself to speak, though the words were clear in my head, as the cold pursed my lips together for a mumble. The checkout doll seemed to know what I was about and handed me a brand new deck of shiny wrapped Mild Seven Cigarettes. It's not exactly what I wanted, but versus the effort required to explain and debate I resolved and pulled my pocket for the change. Handed it to her and left before she printed the receipt.

I stripped the plastic from the packet, stepping out, being punched by the humidity of the rain storm and slipped the foils into the recycling bin. I sighed as I looked out from under the store's eve, it easy to perceive, that this time round, again, I'd not make it- my cigarette not getting wet. So I snugged the cigarettes into my pocket and hoped they not drown and began, once more, the walk out of town.

Walking quicker now, I'd resolved my everything be drowned. I flicked my head up and slightly back to try and tip my heavy hair back atop my head, but only succeeded in it falling further when I straightened up. I shrugged my shoulders to bring closer my body's warmth and I remembered hearing somewhere that once your shirt is drenched you're better taking it off and less likely to catch a cold as the material isn't pressed against your chest. Somehow I couldn't make sense of the logic nor muster the effort required to that far undress, so just pressed on as best I could.

Finally, in the night's grey, wet, cloud and mist I rounded the slightly left corner and my building's amber lights were glowing with welcome and warm. I sort of shook myself off a little, as those dogs before, and traced the wet footprints left by the previous resident headed up the flights of steps and reaching my apartment pushed and pressed the key into the lock and turned it and made it home. Unzipping my water-filled, gravel crunched boots, I muttered a sullen hey to my room mate sitting straight ahead on the melting couch. Half undressed, hand in his underwear, watching game-shows on the too-loud television he, without turning, piped up only to drably, with query, exclaim, 'no umbrella?...'

I sat down on the balcony, bare-footed, my feet getting slightly drizzled on with the wind licking the rain under the only very small covering. I lit a cigarette from the deck which’d managed to survive. I didn’t stay up long after arriving home, the early morning already starting to show. When I did wake up though, it was still raining.

1 comment:

3Random Acts said...

Ezbon, I do believe that this is my most favourite out of all the stories of yours that I have read. Great images. I could hear the rain and your heart beat from start to finish. Genius. Get this Published.

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