It was raining most of the day. I couldn't remember when it began, but I do remember staring at the clouds just a short time before the sky opened up and let fall ...rain.
Looking out my window, I see the chair I was sitting, the shine of dim lights reflecting off it's wet surface. I imagine that I am still sitting there still looking at the sky. The chair is empty. It seems cold and lonely, becoming weaker by the day because of it's age of material make up and the harshness of it's world imposing on it. There is a break in the rib, a crack in the arm, and the skin of the seat is torn slightly.
It was a fairly lite rain, a little cold in temperature. I put on my "New York" sweater and left my house. But not before grabbing my ear plugs. A friend that I have is deaf, she has showed me the benefit and beauty of closing off audio input. I needed that now. I do not want to hear anything.. outside. My own thoughts were enough to entertain me. And certain unchangeable things as well - the wheeesh whaash of my breathing, the fudd dudd fudd dudd of rhythmic heart beat and the glomping of my foot falls. It is a peaceful tune and I supply the lyrics.
I head out in the open. I intend to jog in the rain.
My neighborhood has broken sidewalks. Many yards are overgrown with weeds and unkempt lawns, mine included. Some streetlamps are out in this area of my home too. The different signs telling drivers what to do are barely visible, either from graffiti or overgrown shrubs. One sign says - "pee limit 3", another says "yie". I hear myself say "yay" as I trod past it.
As I jog, I try to say the meditations I learned over the years. I do this by imagining myself sitting across from me in my mind. I look different, but I try not to think about it. "Okay" "Are you listening?" I'm sitting there holding I book about to read what is on the page. "Breath in through your nose." I do. "Okay, now exhale through your mouth." I do this too. "As you breath in, all the goodness of life enters you." Yeah, right... sorry, continue. I look over my reading glasses at me running up the slope of the overpass. "Please pay attention.." I seem kind, I seem patient. I was sorry to interrupt my image of me. I AM sorry. I feel a stab in my heart, I feel a heat rising through my chest, crawling over my jaw wanting to work it's way out of my eye sockets. I am glad it's raining. I stop my jogging for a moment and look straight up into the charcoal abyss. Cold droplets of rainwater tingle my face. Warm sweat and tears mingle and with their new friends. I am glad it's raining. "Breathe in through your nose, and feel the goodness of life enter you." "Exhale through your mouth, and feel the negative energy leave you." I do as I am told. I begin jogging again.
I enter the church neighborhood about a mile or so from my house. The sidewalks are wider and there are not cracks. At each corner of the blocks are yellow dotted braille pads. I am reminded of a monopoly game I played as a child with my family. The rules of the game were not where I could remember them. There are more signs in this part of the city, all free of any graffiti. The lawns of the church property are perfect! I avoid stepping on the grass, as one may avoid touching a priceless painting. I put my right foot on the yellow pad and wait my turn. The light turns green, the little man on the card say's I may go. Walk directly that way.. ting tong ting tong, I can barely hear the audio cues, I'm deaf. I jog faster to get away from this part of the city. I can't afford to land on anybody's square, I don't remember the rules. There are two patrol cars idling in the parking lot of the church, they are the bankers, they own the property, they enforce the rules whether you know them or not. Don't pass go, don't collect $200. I have no cards to free me from jail and I'm down to the pink and white money. I dare not land on anyone's square!
One and a half miles later. I am soggy. The lite rain has turned steady. My left shoe has come untied six times! I am angry at it. Why can't you behave more like my right shoe? It has only failed twice. I thought this as I turned the corner from Madison Avenue onto College Oak. I promptly stepped into a puddle with my right foot. My left shoe untied itself in laughter. I tied it. My right shoe was squeaking it's apology when I stepped into another puddle! I saw that it was a glossy surface of darkened pavement. But here, water collected and I deceived myself as to the depth of it. Both my feet were soaked. Cold water surged into my shoes. I cursed them and continued to jog. Squesh he he squesh he he. The joke was on me. "Ha!" I said loudly. I inadvertently frightened a woman getting out of her car to shop at the 99 cent store. She jumped nearly out of her skin, it was a bit comical. "You guys set me up", I said to my shoes. "Good one." At the corner of Collage Oak and Auburn Boulevard both my shoes were untied again.
I finally enter the area of the college, the sidewalks here are large like those of the church sidewalks, but these seem worn, not new. There are leaves scattered on the ground from the trees cuddling each other. It is from the wind and rain that these leaves have fallen. But I still wonder about their relationship with each other. It may as well be tears and personal belongings from their marital spats thrown about. Fresh tears on which to grow or part are evident. Ones leafy possessions strewn on the floor from emotional outbursts. Seedling children cower by one adult trunk of the primary guardian. The teenager trees listing limply have their tools that will teach them grow steady into adult tree lives; fastened to large poles stuck solidly in the ground by their feet root. I jog pass, underneath their hushed arguing. I wonder if they will work through it.
There are many signs now. Most of them say simply "NO PARKING". The "NO" is in a red square. As I jog past them I feel as if they are meant for me. Another "NO" sign flickered into my site, I see the "NO" but the rest is imagined or felt. "NO" you can't attend school. "NO" you're not welcome. The sidewalk glows. Slick from water the street lamps make the ground appear like glass. I often think I will break through it. I sometimes hold the downward force of my steps, it is reflexive as I continue my jog. If anyone saw me, I may look like a ninja desperately trying not to make a sound while rapidly moving across an open yard. "NO" loud noises. Don't fall into the dark beyond. There is no work to be had for me. There is no money for an education. I side step the glassy puddles now. I can't fall through them. I'm running very fast past the last "NO" sign. Breathing heavily, a mist escapes my open mouth. It floats thickly at first and then dissipates into nothing. To the left of me is the front entrance to the American River College. The sign post reads Orange Grove and College Oak. I see no orange tress, but the college looms high in the darkened night sky. I enter.
There is a large maze of buildings. Most of the walkways are uncovered. Brick building are coded with strange words, RAEF was on one building, that I noticed. The halls were silent. There was a chair outside one of the classrooms. It was a solid metal chair built for lasting long through many students who may frequent it's padded orange seat. I remembered my lonely chair outside in the rain. It is not the chair that will ever find it's way onto a college campus. I felt ashamed for leaving it outside. I walked a short distance down one path and was delighted. A water fountain! Not just one, but there were two. I drank and felt good. I felt like a thief drinking from the fountain, the longer I stood there stooped, sucking at fresh life juice, the more intense the feeling. "This water is meant for students", not for me. It was one of those thoughts that didn't really make sense, but I felt that it was the truth of it. I hurried away from the fountain. It would not be good to press my luck by hanging out at the school I did not belong too. Also, according to "Google Maps" this is my 3.6 mile marker, it's time to turn back and head home. I left the campus. I want to go home.
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