Rain Drips from the rooftops. The leftovers. Not real rain. The sun pokes through the haze, making a beige triangle across the brown brick building. Atop, a flag whips and curls. Whips and curls. Whips and curls. Switches direction-whips and curls. I can’t see the stars. Only the stripes. One of the colonies, the top red one, is frayed and breaking free. The flagpole attaches the cloth to the building. The building to the sidewalk. The sidewalk to me. It’s far above my head. Too far to reach. In the sky, the rain has stopped. On the sidewalk, it has slowed to a drizzle. Every ledge spills some of its collected water. Vertical rivers slide down the railings of the fire escapes that adorn the darkened walls of the alleyways. The skeletal system carves zees into the air-stacking zees on zees-make staircases. The lowest ledge weeps water to my level-where the water makes pools. At my level, I cannot reach much; I cannot reach anything from which the water falls. So they remain mystery drops. From somewhere above, the waterfalls.
To the south of the flagged building, is a thirteen story parking garage. It is a squeezebox-stretched vertically with no walls. The pillars stand exposed to the wind. To the weather. I can only see the parallel rows of fluorescent lights. Once in awhile, I can see the movement of headlights, descending the accordion.
The conversation behind me snaps me out of my moment. I barely hear their words. It is background music that is just a little too loud. I close my lids. Hold. Open. They are still there. I turn my head back to the window in dramatic slow motion, and close my lids again. Hold. Hold. Open.
It was a year ago. Probably fifteen months ago. It was much colder but yet it was raining. It was pouring. I had to go to school. No umbrella, but a hat. The brim dripped water at a slower pace in my eye’s foreground while the sky water pelted the backdrop. Most people were taking cabs. I walked. I walked as fast as I could. I had money to avoid the rain. It was punishment. It was my conscience telling me that I deserved to get wet. For what, I’m not sure. It was a dark morning. Pre-nine o’clock hour. The night didn’t want to give up.
I heard a woman scream. She wore a royal blue dress that hung below her olive colored trench coat. Her skin was the color of a Payday. Not a Three Musketeer. A payday. Dark enough to not be white, but light enough to barely be chocolate. I ran for her. She was only fifty feet ahead of me. I stared at her staring at the alley. I was terrified to look at what she was terrified of-I stared at her brown eyes agape. Her eyebrows were so high they disappeared into her hair. The corners of her mouth curled downward toward her chin. Her top two front teeth bit the lower lip. Her expression made crevices in her skin. I closed my eyes again. The slow motion action happened again. I turned my head to see what it was.
My eyes still don’t believe it today. Fifteen months later. It was a dream. It had to be. This man didn’t jump from the thirteen-story squeezebox to his death in front of me. At exactly the moment I was to walk by the alley, a man took his life in front of me. His guts on the wall of a taco joint. His brains on the zees he hit on the way down. My hands are shaking now, because it was a fucking nightmare that I don’t want to remember. I looked back at the woman. Her hands now at her face-covering her mouth. She ran for the street, put her weight on one arm, supported by a parked car, and vomited onto the curb. It spilled onto the street. I looked back at the mangled man. His leg above his busted head. His arm turned underneath him. His wrist broken. Blood dyed the rain pools. I froze. People started to gather and scream. Gather and scream. I melted. I wanted to be blind. I wanted to cover the mess. I wanted to end the nightmare. I wheeled three dumpsters in front of the carcass to block the view. A man came out of the taco joint with a white sheet. He put the sheet over the road kill and spoke to the crowd. He tried to have them curb their curiosities. The crowd got bigger and less afraid. People pushed from the back to get a look. I heard sirens. I froze. I squirmed through the crowd and walked in a daze toward my original destination. As I walked by the modern wing, by the classrooms filled with happy children, I noticed one little girl looking directly at me. She waved. I waved. I closed my eyes. I hold. I open. I cried. I was late for class.