Time, Rain and Concrete

There is a sweet smell in the air and a calmness. I look toward the window at an undefined sky and I know its gonna rain. The feeling is a quiet, calming excitement.

The sky lights up momentarily in the distance. I count, “one, one thousand. Two, one thousand. Three” There’s a flicker. It’s close. 

The house is open and chill. Everyone is in their corners of the ring or out in the world. I can hear the overlays of my mother’s loud ass t.v. blaring through her closed door. There are voices that rise slightly and fade outside as people enter and exit 1080 Webster.

I love rain in the summer and fall. Especially here, in the project’s, of the Bronx. Especially when the house is like this. The streets are deserted.

I creep to the kitchen. Its narrow. There’s a wide opening to the hallway, with a wide window at its end. I hear his voice. “Ayye what up man.” “Aight Cam what’s good.” “You gonna be down here?” “Yeah I’m aight.” “Bet, I’ll be back down.

I creep over to the window, head low, enough to peer out the window and take in the sweetness of the damp air. He’s downstairs. I scramble to my bedroom, find suitable clothing (my older sisters), fix myself up and find a dollar and some change. I pass him in the lobby on my way to the store. His smile is a missile that both stops and jump-starts my heart. He says what’s up. I try not to cheese. I wait till I pass him, and flippantly ask over my should, “You gonna be here for a min?” “Yeah, imma be right here.” I can feel his smile.  I push it to the corner and fill my black small plastic bag with nothing I was trying to get, to get back to the building. 

He’s standing under the concrete awning that shelter the steel lobby door. As I walk up, he walks into the lobby. We talk, we laugh and look. I start out far and he ends up near. Meanwhile the rain hits the concrete. We don’t miss a beat opening the front and elevator doors for our kin. 

Then it’s the crew, of young guys and I, wrestling, laughing, joking and gigging on each other. The lobby door is propped open while we lamp to the sound of the rain on the concrete, that particular smell and coolness of the breeze as it funnels through the open door. Sometimes the wind brings a slight mist and I can see I am not the only one feeling the vibe. 

There are moments when we find ourselves outside under the awning in silence. Knowing I am not long to stay here, to be with him, or them I inhale deeply thankful exist with them. I know this memory I will hold forever.


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