Rain Shadow

It’s raining lightly at the corner where I’m waiting to cross the street. You would hardly even call it rain actually. It’s barely a sprinkle. The interesting thing is that the sidewalk is dry, the rain is only hitting the street. (I look up at the office towers around me to verify that it’s not actually just water falling several stories from window washers’ buckets.) The light changes and I walk over the crosswalk, through the sprinkling rain. I reach the sidewalk on the other side where, it turns out, the rain isn’t falling either.

I head into the store and select a couple of t-shirts. While waiting in line to pay, I watch a shadow that’s being cast against the translucent window from outside. It’s the profile of a woman. All of her features are obscured, all I can tell is that she has a short ponytail. She stands in the same place the entire time I’m in line, at one point pulling the shadow of a cellphone out from somewhere and talking into it for a minute.

When I get outside again, the weather conditions are identical to the way they were when I went inside. The street is being hit by something less than a drizzle – the sidewalks are dry. This little micro-weather system hasn’t moved an inch. (I check for window washers again.)

I wait at the corner for the light to change. I’m walking back in the direction I came from. Across the street, where I waited for the light earlier, I see a man who I’ve seen around before. Usually he stands silently outside the Bon Marche, hiding behind dark glasses, holding up copies of The Watchtower and Awake. It looks like he just came off-duty, he’s carrying the little leather portfolio that he stashes his magazines in and he seems more relaxed than usual. He’s laughing with a couple of people. They’re strangers – when the light changes they all walk into the crosswalk at different paces taking diverging paths. I walk into the crosswalk, through the light rain, and out onto the other side.

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