A huge droplet of water slapped the sidewalk in front of me, and I sidestepped towards the street, squinting upwards. A/C pee. I walked past the Post Office, and I felt another, like a single finger tapping the top of my head. As quickly as it took for me to look up from the ground at the offending tapper, the cement in front of me was being painted with quarter-sized water stains, dark at their center with just a bit of excess splashing in tiny pinpricks around the nucleus. The sky above the Trump Tower was bright– not the cloudless blue of many early mornings in the NYC summer, when the sun begins to burn the dew off the lawns of Central Park, but the earnest gray-blue of a sun that can’t decide whether it’s shining or crying.
As with all sudden shifts in climate in the city– whether a rainstorm, a traffic jam, or a celebrity leaving his theatre in Schubert Alley– the people began to move in flocks. They swept in running packs across Broadway, and huddled under the Starbucks awning, arm to arm with fellow refugees.
By now, the wet, round stains on the sidewalk had been washed into floods, rivulets of water coursing down the streets into the gutters, pooling in dips in the cement, ceaselessly pockmarked with the fall of new droplets. I wanted to stand in the center of the sidewalk and let the rain batter me with cool wetness, my shirt clinging to my back, face wiped clean of makeup, sandaled toes nearly submerged in a growing puddle. But I’m self-conscious in this city– surrounded by "others."
My one rebellion was to walk at a normal pace, to keep my chin up, to not avoid the backsplash from hundreds of feet slapping the saturated pavement. I reached the 59th Street station, and there was a rotunda of commuters, staring up, squinty-eyed, just as I glared, frustrated, toward a phantom A/C dripping mild water on my head. I push past them and swipe into the station, scraping my wet hair across my face, and smile.
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