You were standing in the rain. In the story I tell myself, you were waiting. Maybe you were just smelling the rain. Maybe, like me, you just wanted to feel something. Now, this was a temperate rain and I thought I could sniff the tropics with it, but I’ll admit my imagination is easily influenced by meteorology. The clouds were formed south of Cuba, and had crossed Virginia and New York to get here. Your rain usually comes from the west, dusty from the shield and the plains, or otherwise from the north-east, cold and terrible. This time of year, your rain is close to body temperature. You were dressed perfectly for it. It must be a routine for you.
I wanted to give you something. It seemed important. It seemed like you were waiting. A mint canister was lying right there in the gutter. The image on top shows a rosy-cheeked girl with a rabbit. It looks too old, anachronistic, as if a ghost from 1912 left it here. Instead of taking it straight to you, I hesitated. So I still have it. I scrubbed it off using the rainwater on my finger. I popped its dents back out, even though anyone can still see where it was dented. Later on I found something to put inside, a curl of red plastic. It doesn’t take up too much space to travel with. I’d still like you to have it.
Before you continued on your walk, you brushed away a lock of wet hair that had stuck to your cheek. I thought you were going to say something, but you just opened your mouth to let in the rain. I remember how the drops were heavy. Once you were gone, I closed my eyes and lifted my own face into the rain.
I’ve been gathering more tokens in case I see you again. So far, there’s the cannister, the red plastic curl (a golden spiral), and a chain of paperclips I have been lengthening in my office. I also plan to wrap some twigs in twine. They keep twine in the supply closet, who knows why. I do know I might not find you again. I’d have to be in Montreal on another rainy day.
I’ve also been picking up pennies. I keep one at a time, always comparing it with the next that I come across, discarding the less shiny. The current champion was minted in 1985. When the rain clears, it will reflect a disk of promises onto your cheek.