Charlie walked through the streets with no umbrella to shield him from the cold rain that stung his face as the harsh winds threw it at him. He stared down at the ground watching his feet step in one puddle after another, some of the puddles deeper than others. Rain dripped off the end of his nose landing on his bright yellow raincoat, but it’s not like you could tell. He was soaked to the bone. He couldn’t look up at all as the rain was so thick and the winds were too quick. He could only get so far through squinting his eyes.
He was on his way to the bus stop to go to work. He hoped he would make it on time. He also hoped the bus wouldn’t be late. Charlie wished he had just called in sick to work. Chances are, he was going to be sick tomorrow anyway.
Charlie bumped into something and he took a few steps back startled. He put his hands over his eyes so that he could see what it was—a woman.
“Oh, I’m terribly sorry. I wasn’t watching where I was going.” It was then Charlie realized he was standing right outside the bus stop. It was a good thing he nearly knocked down this poor woman. He would have walked by his bus stop completely.
The woman laughed. “It’s alright, don’t worry about it.”
Charlie side-stepped into the bus stop’s booth. He shook his arms as though shaking like a dog would dry him off. He didn’t mind being wet. He just hated it when the ends of his clothes and limbs dripped. It was like he would never dry.
“Did you forget your umbrella, too?” he chuckled running his hands through his hair. He skipped his hair cut but now he regretted it.
Charlie looked up and noticed the woman still standing right outside the booth. Her chin was held high looking up at the sky. Her eyes closed with a wide grin on her face allowing the rain drops to poke her on her cheeks.
“So… what are you doing then? Why don’t you come wait for the bus in here?” Charlie knew it wasn’t any of his business, but he couldn’t help but be curious.”
“I’m not waiting for the bus.” She didn’t move. Just allowed the rain to pour all over her.
Charlie looked around wondering if there were any men in white coats looking for her. Who in their right mind would want to stand outside in this dreadful weather?
“You’re going to get sick. What are you doing out there if you’re not waiting for the bus? With no umbrella and…” Charlie looked her up at down. “Oh, my goodness, you don’t even have a jacket on!”
Without thinking, Charlie took his raincoat off and held it out to her. Though she was too busy trying to open her eyes to look at the sky that she didn’t notice his kind gesture.
“The rain is rough now, but when it’s a light drizzle you can look directly up at the sky and it looks like you standing in the middle of the galaxy. Or that’s what I’ve heard.” She observed.
Charlie pulled his coat closer to him. He questioned his kindness as he wondered if he would ever get it back.
“How often do you stand out in the rain?” She finally turned around.
Charlie stared at her with his mouth gaped open. She was looking at him, but her eyes seemed to see straight through him.
“I said, how often do you stand out in the rain?” she asked again.
“Uh… Never?” Charlie shrugged. “Will you please come in here? You’re going to get sick.”
“No,” she bluntly turned around and tilted her chin to look up at the sky once more.
Charlie sighed shaking his head. Though he put on his jacket without another word. Why should he care about the well-being of this complete stranger?
“The rain is calming, don’t you think?” she continued.
Charlie sat down on the bench without responding.
“The sound is soothing to your ears, its light touches here and there across your skin are almost massage-like. My favorite is when you stick out your tongue and taste the rain. It’s pure, fresh water.”
Charlie raised an eyebrow. He folded his arms across his chest and looked to his right. Was the bus on its way? Please let the bus be on its way.
“Even the smell of rain just smells so… clean. It’s like it’s cleansing the earth and the people in it.”
Charlie let out a heavy sigh. He was cold, wet, and tired. He had to go to work—who looks forward to that?—and the bus was late with a crazy person standing at the stop.
“Are you still there?” she asked cautiously.
Charlie turned his attention back to the woman. It was just then he realized why she did what she did.
He stood up from the bench stepping outside the booth. He stood beside her, squinting the rain. “I’m here.” He stated.
The bus rolled into view slowly through the deep puddles in the street, its wipers working overtime. The bus’s door opened and the driver stared at Charlie.
He shook his head. “Sorry, I’m calling in sick today.” He explained.
The driver shrugged, closed the doors, and drove off.
“What are you doing?” the woman asked.
“Seeing what you see.” Charlie responded. He spread out his arms, closed his eyes, and turned his face up toward the sky.
He had an awful head cold the following morning. But it was worth the new friend and the new outlook on life.