Whenever he tries to write, rain follows. (freewriting exercise)
As of late, his imagination couldn't escape the sound of rain. All of his stories were drenched with the water falling from the skies. It seeped through every page and blurred the ink. Paper, thin as it already was, would dilute into a sticky mess, and puddles would gather by the reader's feet.
Of course, the reader would put the remains of the draft aside. They would wipe the now-wet hands into the back of their pants and shake their head. Continuing would be impossible – he'd have to face yet another failure.
That remained so even when he tried to change the pace and visit a café for a break. Hurdled in the very corner by the window, he observed other patrons and, sometimes, people passing on the street. The bitter taste of unsweetened coffee lingered on his tongue. It tasted like horse urine. A perfect clash with the scent of overly sweet perfume that lingered in the stagnant air.
No other person seemed bothered by it. The women pushed their lips into sultry pouts while sipping from dainty porcelain cups. Men tapped their long fingers at the tables. Their gazes drifted from one lady to another yet never focused on anything for more than three seconds.
The smoke of cigarettes hung just above their heads. This thick sheet kept the rays of afternoon sun from reaching the worn wooden counter where the curvy middle-aged owner watched all of them with a suspicious eye. Her eyebrows had almost merged together.
Then, there was him, trying to describe this image on a napkin. The blue ballpoint pen scratched at the paper-thin sheet, leaving blue gashes – waterdrops in stormy weather. With every scratch, the corner of his lips twitched. Eventually, he slammed the pen, dug out a few coins and left them where the hawk-like gaze of the owner could reach. He felt the woman's eyes screw into his back. She was judging him. She had been doing so ever since he stepped through the narrow glass-paned door and made a bell above jingle in unpleasantly high tones.
He didn't dare to return her scowl with a similar one. Instead, his shoulders slouched and face reddened. He pushed a flat cap on his eyes and skulked out into the street.
The sound of napkin tearing apart followed him all the way to the central park. There, it was killed by splashes of water and loud quacking of overfed ducks. The wet feathers glistened on the little fat bodies, as the birds fought over pieces of cinnamon buns thrown their way by giggling children. One piece landed on a duck's head. Before the bird could react, another sprang its way and pinched the treat right under the unfortunate's beak.
He grinned, feeling a sense of familiarity towards the outwitted creature. Neither of them had luck nor wits.
The day was shifting into dusk. The sky had darkened with heavy clouds, so he left the park. No peace was to be found there either way.
Yet even that didn't bring him much luck. The sky burst, pouring water right behind his collar. Cold torrents rolled down his back, and the soaked shirt clung to his body with the persistence of a dumped lover or a debt collector. He wanted to curse the gods for sending this last push down on him. He almost did; lifted his head, opened his mouth and choked on the water.
But a bump to his shoulder made him shut up and look around. Lost in thought, he had wandered into an arched alley where people lingered waiting for the rain to end. His ears heated up once more. It would have been quite a spectacle to see him shout...
With so many 'companions' lined along the walls, he couldn't find a corner to hide in and had to stay in the very front, watching puddles form by their feet. Streams flowed to barred gaps in the cobbled pavement.
He stood, keenly aware of the weight of his clothes and the breath of a portly man standing just a step behind. He stood, listening to the gurgle of water and faint coughs. They all stood. Until the sun appeared once again.
He couldn't quite explain why – perhaps because he had to stand in that very front – the scenery left him disturbed. The last drops of rain landed into the puddles, sending ripples across the mirror surface. Faint draft of the alley seeped through his wet clothes and sent a slight shiver up his spine. The last sunlight of the day lit up the green-tainted leaves of birches that shivered just like him. The rain had ended.
And the duck that lost one bite had found another.
He scoffed and turned on his heel towards home. He needed a change of clothes, not morals from some fat birds living in the park.