She looked up and saw the last of the rain, its brief cascade complete. The skies were now cloudless and blue, the raindrops already drying on her palm. Across the city, shining and slick with the sudden rain, the sun gleamed on steel and glass. Windows winked at her, the city smiling its private smile. Overhead something glimmered and she looked higher into the heavens.
The rainbow was vivid and she counted the colours, then paused and counted them again. Five times she counted and five times she was presented with a different result. Some of its colours she could not name.
She smiled, and she did not know it – but her smile shone.
He watched her, the book in front of him forgotten. Its pages’ damp, the edges of the printed letters expanding as if the ink had conspired to consume its whole world.
He closed the book and some part of him realised it was useless to him now. As its pages dried they would cling to each other in a death rattle of ideas, curving and coiling into something unrecognisable.
He didn’t care.
He watched as she raised her hand, fingers long and slim.
His eyes drifted to her face as she turned it to the sun in salutation.
A dozen steps separated them, and if the sudden downpour had not pulled him from his book he would never have noticed her as she passed. She would have swept by and their lives would have remained untouched by each other’s passing.
But it had rained, and – as dots of fine rain had obscured his faded paperback – he had looked up to see her standing there with her hand raised, and her eyes wide.
A person’s mind and soul are not one and the same. The soul knows things the mind has yet to learn. He knew that, at least his soul did, his mind had yet to catch up. So when he rose from the low wall he had used as a seat, his footsteps surprised him. His courage surprised him, the moment surprised him – but still his feet moved as if of their own accord.
She heard the footsteps before she saw him, sensed his body just outside of her view. She knew it was a man, but she did not know how she knew.
She counted the colours again, and received another total.
“How many colours do you see?”
His voice was as gentle as summer rain, quiet as if it was reluctant to be heard, but it was strong, as though it’s reluctance was born of choice rather than necessity.
“Five, eight, twelve, fourteen.” She said, accompanied with the slightest shake of her head.
“Maybe more.” She concluded.
“Thousands.” He said.
“Perhaps millions.” She replied.
She turned and smiled, feeling for a moment a fraction of her true age. He smiled back, and she thought she saw herself reflected in his eyes.
posted by Alan Preece
on November, 10