Water Droplets

December 19, 2007
By Barbara Radford, Tucson, AZ

I opened the door to welcome the gray skies and dreary weather. As I locked the door behind me, my feet were already wet from the puddle I had unwittingly been standing in.

As the dampness spread up the legs of my jeans, I couldn’t help but smile. I love the scent of rain and the cover it brings. The warm humidity that fills a city covered with clouds. I love feeling of raindrops dripping down my nose, dropping onto the front of my shirt, leaving small wet ovals on my chest.

I pull my hair back into a quick ponytail because I know the dampness surrounding me will cause my hair to frizz out about six inches in every direction. I think about my phone and everything else in my purse getting wet from the rain slowly seeping through the fabric of my bag, but it’s only water, what the hell.

My aquatic dreams are stalled as I step onto the public bus. It is unusually crowded due to the compromising weather, and that makes the atmosphere warm and damp. I take a seat next to a sorry looking man in a black trench coat, holding a freshly wet black umbrella in his lap. In fact, everything about him was black: his briefcase, slacks, shiny leather shoes, hat, and even his silk tie. He strikes me as a professional man, but one who had greater plans for his life. He aspired to be a painter or world traveler, but now he was on the fast track to spending his life in a cubicle.

I yank the chain to indicate my stop. As I stand up and walk towards the front of the public service vehicle, I have to catch myself on the nearest silver pole as the bus jerks to a stop. I step down onto the slick sidewalk, and the rain welcomes me again.

I start walking, clutching my old brown leather purse to my side. I have my destination in mind. Two blocks straight ahead, past the old church with the mural of Jesus at the last Supper on the side of the wall surrounding the courtyard with that tall apple tree, then a right on Main Street, keep going until you see that McDonalds, the one with a purple sign, then cross to the southeast corner of Main and Maple.

I walk into the building where I have been so many times before, the faded aqua blue paint looking gray from reflecting the clouds overhead. The sign is cracking, but visible, and the windows are spotless with an airbrush drawing of Easter flowers for the season. The raindrops are slowly sliding down the sparkling glass. I push open the door to hear the familiar ting of the bell attached to the cold metal bar of the door handle.

I walk across the muted gray tiles and towards the back wall. The same place I go every time I come here, and stare at the thing I so desperately want. I know exactly what I need to prepare. The adrenaline starts running through me because this is finally happening after so much waiting and wanting. I start running through the store throwing items I need into a basket with the messiness of a child, all the boxes off kilter and askew. I carry it with me heroically back to the wall holding the thing I have been wanting for so long. I have visited once a week for the past four months of excruciating anticipation. I have been saving my money, and the day has finally come.

My hearts beats faster as I ask the nearest employee to help me with my purchase. I point to the one my heart most desperately desires. The clerk obtains my choice and we start walking to the front register, our strides in step. I strut as best I can with the basket full of goods awkwardly set against my hip. The clerk rings up my purchase, $82.05. A perfect price because I have saved up one hundred dollars for this exact purpose. I grab the bag of goods on one arm, and on the other I cradle my precious new possession.

I swivel as I approach the door so I can push it open with my butt, as to not damage the priceless merchandise I now hold in the crook of my arm. I walk out onto the sidewalk and notice the clouds have cleared and the sun is shining through the sky. The walk back to the bus stop passes too quickly, the only thing I notice is a green car that reminds me of one my grandma had when I was younger, and I threw up in the backseat of her emerald Oldsmobile when I got carsick on a ride to the zoo.

I take a seat on the bus next to a very pregnant woman wearing a scarf around her head. She looks sad, and tired. She has a black book propped up out on her stomach full of numbers that she probably never calls anymore. She is flipping through the pages, yet it is unclear whether she is searching for a number she needs, or just looking for someone to call who would understand her pain and just listen. Her shoes are black and worn; she could use a new pair. I feel sympathy for her, but then I remember my recent purchase.
I look at my lap, with my purse, bag, and treasure resting on it. I still feel giddy like a ten year old getting a new bicycle. I look down into my lap, at the orange being I have coveted for so long, and I know. His name is Nemo. I am going to name this bright orange fish Nemo.

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