Friday, 3 February 2017

A Raindrop Moment

A single moment slips past, sliding like a solitary raindrop wiggling it's way down the seemingly smooth glass of a car window, haltingly, jaggedly. As a small child securely tied in to the back seat you turn your face to the window and watch the raindrop, your eyes wide and your attention incredibly focused on this one tiny, insignificant thing. It matters, for some reason that you can't explain. There are other raindrops gathering on the window, little spots of refracted light, like globules of some strange ectoplasm, reflecting the too-bright rays that shine from the eye sockets of the cars that pass, loud in the night. Some of them are faster than your raindrop, wiggling their way down the window at record speed, as if desperate to win a race they've spent their whole lives preparing for. Yet others are slower, fat and lazy like the shoppers you sometimes watch in the supermarket, plodding their way through the aisles, one heavy foot in front of the other, leaning on their trolleys as if even that simple movement is too much effort. But it is yours that holds your attention, and it moves at exactly the right pace, the pace it was made to move at. Wiggle, wiggle, jerk, stop, slide, pause, wiggle, scoot. Until it's nearly reached the bottom of the window, and you can feel the words of your mother floating softly through the air above your head, trying to find their way into the dark cavities of your ears so they can travel through your head and light up the synapses in your brain that will translate them into a language you can understand. But the raindrop is nearly at the bottom now, and your focus cannot be broken, not even for a single second lest you miss the moment of it's finality, it's totally, it's death. For the base of the car window is where raindrops die. Though even as you think this thought your small brain begins to wonder if that is in fact true, for the raindrops do not disappear when they reach the bottom, instead they merge together and undertake a strange kind of metamorphosis, combining themselves before splitting off again into more droplets that stream down the side of the car before eventually losing their grip and falling away into the wilderness of the outside world. You blink and the thought is gone, lost to the depths of your mind, a passing concept that your small brain does not know what to do with, you have not been trained for that yet. Your raindrop is almost at the base of the window now and your eyes remain glued to it with a strange fixation, for it is only a raindrop on a car window after all. Above your head your mothers words are still hovering, searching for an entry point, only now they are joined by your fathers too. You do not have much time left before you will have to take notice, will have to turn your attention back to them, back to the real world. But the raindrop is so close now, only a few tiny centimetres remain between it and the bottom, it is nearly there and you feel a sense of duty after having journeyed with it for so long, a sense that you must complete this strange quest you have embarked upon together. You watch it wiggle and slip and slide and pause, then wiggle some more. Somewhere inside you a strange kind of excitement is building, a quiet excitement, more a notion of an impending event. The raindrop wiggles slightly to the left and your eyes follow it. You do not see the larger, faster droplet that comes speeding down from above until it is too late and your raindrop has been engulfed by this intruder that has stolen it and is already dragging it swiftly towards the bottom where the two collide with the others that have collected there and quickly disappear from the brief window of your life. You feel a strange sense of distant disappointment, as if something has been taken away from you, and for a moment you continue to stare at the window, though this time your eyes blur as they take in the multitude of raindrops scattered across it, all making their own way down the seemingly smooth glass, undertaking their own journeys. But none of them are yours. The feeling of a broken connection settles across you, although you are too young to understand that that is what you are feeling, and you turn your head away from the window, pouting slightly as your eyes take in the familiar world of the car interior. Finally the words of your parents find the openings of your ears and seep into your brain, filling your head with new thoughts. The moment passes and as you formulate and begin to speak a reply all thoughts of the raindrop are lost, slipping away into the recesses of your mind where they stay hidden in the dark until one day many years later you are sitting alone in a small coffee shop watching the raindrops sliding down the window next to you and you are reminded of that one strange moment and it's confusing mix of feelings. This new moment is the deciding factor in your life, although you do not know why, for there is nothing terribly important about it. You make a decision, almost without realising you have made it, and you down the last of your coffee, enjoying the warm bitter liquid as it swirls through your mouth and slips down your throat. Then you place your empty mug gently on the table and stand, pushing your chair back slightly as you do so. You pick up your coat and slip into it, feeling the heavy material settle over your body. It is a comforting feeling, one that you enjoy, and you do up the buttons and check the pockets for all your belongings until you are certain that nothing has been lost or left behind. As you leave the shop, pulling the heavy door open with your right hand, you turn back and smile at the girl behind the counter, she smiles back and as you turn away you let the word 'thanks' slip from between your lips. If she replies you do not hear it as you have already left, leaving the heavy door swinging slowly closed behind you as you dig your hands deep into your soft pockets and walk briskly down the road, one foot in front of the other, your shoes making a pleasing sound against the hard concrete of the pavement. You are pleased with your decision, and in that new moment the whole world lies before you, all it's nuances at your mercy, to do with as you please. A small smile flickers across your face and you feel the warmth of your own strength as it spreads through your soft, pliable, body, and leads you towards the next moment of your existence.

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