It wasn’t a very nice day. It was hot. Humid. The clouds, pregnant and menacing, sagged low in the sky. Low enough that to a child who’s imagination had yet been destroyed by the reality of adolescence could simply stand on their tip-toes, like an optimistic ballerina, reach upwards and stick a hand inside their fluffy existence.
To David Aymes, who hated to be called Dave, it just wasn’t a very nice day.
He sat staring out his window, upwards and onwards, into the clouds then into the atmosphere then into space where it floated indefinitely. In front of him sat an invoice that he had started an hour ago. It wasn’t an urgent matter of business or even a very important matter of business. It was just a matter of business and that was the problem. David was a mildly successful writer and photographer, making the bulk of his income off freelance reporting for online publications. It wasn’t hard work, nor was it unenjoyable, it’s just that sometimes David’s mind wandered and at this very moment it wandered skyward.
David had been lost to the sky for some time now, but the most recent development had David feeling like a child at a toy store in the 1940’s as he pressed his face against the window, breathing with excitement. It had been so unbearably hot for the past week and a half that when the sinister clouds rolled in mere moments before, and with them the slightest promise of rain, it had filled him with an unfair anticipation. He wished with all of his might that he could take one of the many pens scattered around his messy studio loft and pop the most ominous cloud in the sky. A low rumble in the distance shook his heart the way standing too close to the speakers at a concert does. Was the noise the result of an obsolete train shambling its way along the decrepit tracks just north of his building? Or the glorious melody of thunder? David found himself clenching his jaw, a nervous habit that was the cause of his now almost unnoticeable overbite thanks to years of braces and subsequently years of torment in high school.
A sharp fork of lightning split through the sky like an axe through a tree. Almost as a cue, a green light from God himself, the sky opened up. The rain drilled into the pavement. An audible hiss as the cold water struck the smoldering streets. Satisfied with having witnessed the sky break, David turned back to his computer screen and stretched his long fingers out across the keyboard. A, S, D, F. ;, L, K, J. Perfect form, his fingertips gently caressing the keys like a pianist preparing to play his most brilliant composition.
David immediately lost interest, stood and made his way to his balcony. At least, that’s what it was called in the loft brochure. In reality it was a slab of cement that extended no more than two feet out and, generously, three feet wide. Just big enough for David and a plant he bought to “liven up the place.” He killed it in three days, but didn’t have the heart to throw out Garth (he named the plant postmortem). The black, cast-iron railing burnt David’s skin as he leaned on it.
“Drink up, Garth,” David had a habit of speaking to inanimate objects as if they were people, “you’re looking quite parched.” One of his university professors told him this was a sign of creativity. Everyone else attributed it to loneliness.
The street exploded with activity in the same manner the sky exploded with water. People evacuated from their arid apartments into the streets, and with arms outstretched, basked in the natural beauty of the rain, the same weather the entire city had cursed a month earlier when it rained for twenty-one days straight. Now, like a best friend they hadn’t seen since high school, they welcomed its cool, refreshing embrace with open arms.
David could feel the heat give into the rain and for the first time in over a week a breeze weaved its way through his messy hair, grazing his cheek, teasing his lips and finally rolling off his ears like a bed sheet. David closed his eyes and listened to the shouts and squeals of delight coming from the ground two stories below. And, like the rain relieved the heat, a smile relieved David’s face including his jaw that had somehow become clenched again.
To David Aymes the day that started as not very nice just got a little nicer.