It was raining again. The city slouched in the gloom, and the traffic seemed to slow it's pace against the unrelenting downpour. The brightly colored awnings of the markets and restaurants were dulled by the rain and they hugged their doorways and walkways desperately. Rainwater collecting on the awnings poured heavily off, attacking the already slick sidewalk.
A small cluster of people had gathered under the awning of the marketplace. Just a tiny mass of pedestrians with sad formal umbrellas all united in one purpose.
"It's probably gonna be late again," someone muttered.
"It seems like this one is always late," came the reply.
"You know I read in the paper that it's going to be like this for the rest of the week."
"Oh yeah? I'm already tired of it."
"But rain is good."
"We're not farmers here lady."
"Well it's been very hot this summer, I'm sure the parks could use it."
Isaac smiled as the conversation floated about the gathering. He looked up into the gray sky. The rain showed no signs of stopping. 'It's funny though,' Isaac thought, 'the kinds of things that make people talk to strangers.'
His eyes wandered over the small group that was building under the awning. The attractive young woman with the plain gray raincoat and a plain gray umbrella and designer wellington bots with a hounds tooth print was still trying to convince the older man in his jogging suit that rain was benefiting the city. Behind them stood a young girl in a bright red raincoat. The child was clinging tightly to her father's hand. She turned her head slightly and looked nervously at Isaac. He smiled at her out if courtesy, and he suddenly felt very self-conscious of his appearance. He was soaked. The windbreaker and baseball cap he was wearing didn't protect from this torrent of rain. His eyes fell to his own ruined sneakers. 'Bea warned me,' he thought, as he mentally prepared for another 'I told you so'.
Isaac was startled out of his little reverie. He turned quickly and found himself nose to nose with a smiling young man.
"Do I know you?" Isaac said after he'd had a moment to compose himself.
"Not yet," the youth said still smiling, unscathed by Isaac's rude greeting.
Isaac turned around, "look, I'm just waiting for the bus so I can get home, I'm not interested in whatever you're selling."
"Oh, Isaac you shouldn't make assumptions like that. You know what they say about people who assume…"
The young man laughed, "I will see you again Isaac, and remember, be careful whom you tread on, for there are angels among us."
Isaac smiled, "My grandmother used to say that."
He turned to face the young man again, but he was gone. Isaac watched him turn the corner, and started to follow.
Then the bus came. The crowd pushed past Isaac as the bus squeaked to a stop. He heard the doors open and the clinking of change and the click of the turnstiles. But all he could think of was the mysterious youth.
"Are you coming or what?" the bus driver called to him, "You know I got other stops Ike."
"Oh yeah," Isaac grunted in reply as he ascended the large metal steps. He slid his Metrocard into the slot and pushed through the turnstile, shoving the strange meeting into the back of his mind.
Outside it was still raining heavily and his fellow passengers were getting situated, shaking out umbrellas and adjusting rain-flattened hair. Isaac moved toward the back looking for a seat on the already crowded bus. Isaac became aware of dozens of eyes on him, probing him. It made him nervous coupled with the insecurity of being the only guy on the bus who had to stand.
Isaac looked up and saw the little girl in the red raincoat pointing at him.
"Daddy, that guy isn't wet at all."