The streets are wet. E's red raincoat is short at the wrists. There are stray dogs slogging through the puddles, their fur a grey mess the same color as the sky. She looks up at me, that defeated Monday morning look on her face and I shake my head, telling her to let it go.
I know she loves the rain.
The lights are out in her school. The guards are sitting in the dark lobby hunched over computer screens. I kiss the top of her head once. The room smells of wet paint and fumes.
On the way home I see a tiny house made of paper hanging from some colored yarn. It is sagging, falling apart from the rain. I wonder if it is for birds, or if some children just left it here and then someone saved it.
I see the faces, the stone expressions sucking on cigarettes, the occasional hard stare like I am a Martian walking among them. The thought comes to me that each one of these people has a home, a kitchen table, a bed, some shoes in a closet, that every single one of these people has hats and jackets and umbrellas, a window to stare out of late at night, a cherished cup, some eggs in the fridge. I think of every single person I pass having dirty clothing to wash, a decision about what to have for breakfast, some coins lost in a couch, bills to pay, a picture that hangs on a wall they have stopped looking at.
A woman sits on a folding chair next to a crosswalk. She is wrapped in a blue plastic bag, her head bowed low over a harmonica. She plays it the way children do - breathing in and out through it, just the same two or three notes. There is no melody, no phrasing, no expression, no pauses. It is more noise than music.
I see her.