Arnold sat and ate his breakfast in the diner up the street, watching swollen raindrops fall sluggishly to the asphalt. He was a simple man with thickish glasses and a receding hairline, a decent job he didn’t love or hate, but which gave him a place to go and a few dollars he could save. He never had a way with women, so he’d never gotten married, but he always made them smile by his politeness.

His plate was nearly empty when in the corner of his eye Arnold saw a familiar woman hurry across the street to hail a taxi. It certainly wasn’t odd to see people out at 6am on Sunday, but he’d been at the window for an hour now and hadn’t seen a soul, the rain as heavy as it was. Arnold watched her climb inside the car and lean toward the driver, the entire scene obscured by doleful streaks of water clinging to the glass between them. Then just as the car began to move, the woman turned and caught him, fixing Arnold for a moment as her sharp, blue eyes cut between the sleepy drops of rain.

“More coffee for you, Arnold?” asked the waitress as she filled his cup. He thanked her automatically but didn’t break his gaze, puzzled at the thought that he had seen those eyes before.

The thought was fleeting, as they often are, and Arnold pushed his plate away and lit a cigarette. He traced the drops of rain that spattered on the window, followed random trails they made before landing on the sill.

As he was paying, Arnold saw the rain had lightened, so he thought he’d walk a bit before returning home. A few blocks away was a little park with benches under trees so lush that they were sheltered from the weather, and Arnold sat and watched the lingering precipitation send ripples all across a pond. Sometimes they’d meet and blend together. Other times they’d broaden into great concentric circles that nearly reached the shores.

He let his thoughts meander till he thought they might be lost. Except for raindrops lightly drumming on the leaves above, an utter, peaceful silence let Arnold be alone. But then he noticed on the bench beside him a tiny bluebird singing, and he couldn’t tell exactly when, but he knew without a doubt he’d heard its song before.

#amsterdam #netherlands #itookacrackatoptimism

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