I’m listening to Billie Holiday’s I’ll Be Seeing You as I watch strangers huddle beneath storefront awnings, taking shelter from the bouncing rain. I’m in a café, warm, drinking my coffee with two hands, writing bits in my journal, wondering what brings people out in this stormy weather. Ducky boots and yellow ponchos. Strollers covered in plastic. A wet dog with a wet red bandana waits for her owner as he stops in for his second cup of coffe.
I feel like going outside to clean. And I don’t clean; I rearrange mess. The city’s landscape would work with this song if there weren’t an empty Gatorade bottle, random strips of cardboard (why are they always everywhere?), a pen cap, cigarette filters, rolling as the rain jabs them. The birds sit on scaffolding, waiting for a yielding. Older women in black rain gear push shopping carts. Tourists duck inside, spreading blue and beige maps flat against their corner café table. I wonder where they’re from, if they have cardboard cluttered streets, if they’ve heard Billie Holiday in the rain before. I wonder what they’re searching for; their fingers push along their maps, following red lines. I wonder where they’ve been. I want to be closer. The woman beside them stops reading her book on Indian Art, sliding the chair with her handbag and umbrella nearer to her, as if it contained a toddler, not her wallet.
Now Otis Redding is crooning, and it makes me think of the cabin scene from Dirty Dancing. I’ve always liked the rain scenes in movies, and on days like this, I find comfort in them. Even the foreign ones.