Rainy days always made the girl feel as it time had stopped. She felt ageless.
She had not been so strapped for cash, so alone, and yet, so at peace, in years.
She had no need to eat, no need to sleep; the restless sound of the rain pulled her soul out and up into the wet air through her bedroom window.
Silting through the leaves which hung dripping in the air, past the robins and squirrels leaping like faeries from limb to limb, she soared above the peaceful street in her mind.
The tree trunks seemed to open their pores and breathe, whispering fifty years witness of days – parents, children, lost girls, changing landscapes – and evenings – quiet slumping homeward treads and students trumpeting their invincibility.
Flying above the street she sees the bearded man in his waistcoat and long jacket. This is the uniform he wears all year regardless of weather, and the dark jacket – buttoned up to the tie – has rips in the shoulder seams, frayed edges. She has heard he was once a psychiatrist, who has since gone mad. He is a fixture in this neighborhood, walking a well trodden and wide-ranging daily path. He is, perhaps, sixty years old, and takes the tiniest steps as if each one is precious, or pains him. Once in a while he speaks to someone she cannot see.
She glides down behind him and drifts by his shoulder; invisible, barely stopping, she caresses his cheek and glides up up again on her way back to the bright window and her lair.
He stops. Scratches his beard where the marks of her passage lay in damp traces.
And resumes walking.