A Walk In The Rain
by Martin Green
It was the usual January weather in the Sacramento Valley, thought Jack Evans, dark, rainy and dismal, appropriate enough for another year of the pandemic. He was in the patio of his house in the Northern Californian retirement community having a second cup of coffee; his wife Blanche was in the front of the house doing one of her watercolor paintings. They hadnt said much to each other at breakfast.
Evans had retired before the pandemic and become a free-lance writer, doing a column for their communitys newspaper and also stories for online magazines. He recalled a story hed written a few months before about a walk hed taken on a nice fall day. Hed encountered another retiree working on his front line to get away from his wife, a woman grumbling about not hearing from her children and an old man in a wheelchair ranting about the entire country going to hell.
Each of these persons, hed thought, had been affected by the coronavirus and hed written a story hed called A Pandemic Walk.
Now he felt that the pandemic had gotten to him. He and Blanche had had a spat last night about what to watch on television. They hadnt heard from their sons in a couple of weeks. He also felt the country was going to hell. They called it pandemic fatigue. Of course supposedly a vaccine was on its way but who knew when it would come. He hoped that like everything else in this crazy time that wasnt messed up, too.
Blanche opened the door to the patio and said, Lets go for a walk.
Its letting up. Come on. We havent been out of the house in weeks.
He reluctantly got up. All right, he said.
He went to the closet and found his raincoat, not used since last winter, and a hat. Blanche was waiting in the hallway in her raincoat and a woolen hat with a tassel. He thought she looked cute. Lets go, she said.
They walked down into the street. Where are we going? Jack asked.
Lets go to the pond.
The pond was on the retirement communitys golf course about half a mile away.
All right, lets go.
They walked without talking along the silent street. Nobody else was about. One or two cars passed. At the pond all was quiet. No ducks, nothing else. Then Blanche said, Look, a heron. It was there, right at the edge of the pond only about six feet in front of them. The heron must have heard Blanche because it suddenly took off and glided gracefully to the other end of the pond where it landed and stood motionless. Blanche and Jack looked at each other but said nothing for a while. Then Blanche said, That was nice.
Uh, huh, said Jack.
They walked back slowly, hand in hand.
Maybe Ill write a story about this, too, thought Jack.
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