Last night I listened for hours to the rain; this morning I waited for the sun, and then wearing my raincoat (the same coat I wore when the thug pulled his gun), Earnest and I went out on the street to walk. The air felt fresh and alive, and all the plants (even the weeds) were raised to face the new sun. Around the corner, a delicate aroma of jasmine lay atop the scent of damp earth, and down the same block where the gunman had run, ripe figs drooped invitingly from a branch overhanging the fence. I popped a small one in my mouth, enjoying its rich perfume and its tender taste. I walked on, noting that someone had cleaned and bagged the trash left behind by the streetside truck repairmen, and then smiled as a carpet of pine needles covering the sidewalk gave way to the cheerful confetti of purple petals dropped down by the rain. I felt glad to be alive, glad to be walking inside a new day, perfumed by blooms and washed by rain.
Then, I stopped at the corner of 8th St and glanced over at an older car pulled to a stop at the light. The young man driving saw me standing there in my black raincoat. He whooped once, and after making a show of pulling his black hoodie over his face, he waved his cell-phone above his head. He laughed outloud, tooted his horn three times, and drove through the still red light. The gentleness of the morning slipped down to mud.