It was raining. The days I remember best are always in the rain.
I was tired. I was trudging through the gray and the wet in search of a place that was neither of those things. The rain poured off of the rim of my top hat, giving me the illusion of perpetually walking through a waterfall. My black suit and pants were drenched and heavy.
I came upon a small café and purchased a black coffee to warm my insides, having given up utterly on saving my outsides. I sat at a little round table and drank my steaming beverage. I was alone in the establishment—the only one dumb enough to venture outside.
Why had I been outside? I don’t remember, and it doesn’t matter, really.
The pitter-pattering of the gray drops on the brown brick walkways drummed a melancholy rhythm into my eardrums. I tapped along to the beat with my fingers on the table, and then the sound of footsteps entered the song.
An elderly man entered the café wearing a bright yellow raincoat, a red shirt underneath, and green and purple striped pants. He had a thick white beard and curly white hair which hung down in front of his uncomfortably large glasses. He ordered a type of drink that I’d never heard of and sat down across the table from me and drank it in enthusiastic gulps.
“I couldn’t help but notice the drumming as I walked in,” the man said, motioning to my fingers. “Are you a musician?”
“Ha!” I chuckled. “No, I’ve never touched an instrument in my life.”
“What’s funny about that?” the old man was taken aback. “In fact, I find that quite sad.”
“Well, it isn’t intentional,” I replied. “I’ve just never found the time.”
“Busy with what?”
“School at first. Then girls. Then college. Now work. You know… life.”
“Pshaw! How proper,” he said as he looked up at my top hat. “Do you at least draw?”
“No,” I told him.
“So tragic,” he sighed as he stood up. “Why don’t you stop following the path you’re expected to take, and just wander?” He snagged my hat and walked out the door.
I smiled for reasons I’m still not sure of. Something was different, and it was good. The rain stopped, but the beat carried on in my head. I started to drum again, and began humming a little tune along with it. The sun pushed the clouds aside and turned the puddles into pools of gold. I whistled my song and took my jacket off and untied my tie. I left them on my chair and rolled up my sleeves as I walked outside.
Whatever surface my whistling echoed off of seemed to brighten up. The red bricks of the café building, the emerald pines on the side of the street, the cerulean sky. It all seemed brighter now that I had my song.