Cold Water

I untie my shoelaces, then take a photograph of the rainbow. It’s the first one I’ve seen all year. I take off my shoes and socks and wiggle my toes in the water. There is a gentle rustling in the trees. A squirrel peers out. I follow its gaze to where I can see a balloon floating high up in the sky. A solitary red balloon, floating further and further away from the hand that let go of its string. I watch until it is no more than a speck in the distance. Then I turn back to my stones.

Three stones in the river, splash splash splash. Lengthways, upstream. I sit down, my feet still submerged. The grass is wet. It rained all last night, and this morning too. Pearly dewdrops shining in the trees. After the rain, there is a stillness.

Tomorrow I will go back to work. People will complain about the weather and lose their umbrellas and get soaked by cars driving too close to the side of the road. Everything will be grey. It’s not the rain that makes it so, but the people. The unhappy frowny hunched-shouldered people, racing through the streets, cursing the heavens. I will not go out. I will sit at my desk and watch them through the window, on the lowly ground floor, with its dull walls and maudlin water cooler moments. Level with the street I will the watch the people go past.

In the city the sky looms, dark and oppressive. Out here it drifts, calm and soothing. I lie back on the damp grass and close my eyes. You can only ever be this peaceful after the rain.

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