rain The rain stopped. Which surprised, irked, and depressed Francisco; in that order. He had intended to write another profound poem addressing themes of unending rain on cold city streets and the overall loneliness of his soul that would, like all of his poems, ultimately be ignored by any publication that he sent them to which he knew would magnify his depression deliciously. Francisco had a impressive collection of rejection letters from many distinguished editors. He planned to use each of these in some vindictive way against these distinguished editors once he had finally been recognized as a poet of fathomless skill and a human being of unheard of beauty. Whenever that happened.

But the rain had stopped and Francisco had yet to find the ability to write a poem about sunlight or any light for that matter. Darkness was his forte. When the thunder woke him up that morning he was certain that he had a full day of rain to concentrate on his misery so he slept until after noon and he loathed himself for his sloth. Finally he rose and brewed the last spoonful of his stale coffee and placed his last slice of bologna between the two remaining heels of white bread to make his unhappiness just a little more pathetic. Francisco was somehow delighted to find that there were grounds in his coffee and a little mold on the corner of the bread. The rain, the sloth, the grounds and the mold began to coagulate into the darkest bile he had let himself experience as of late. Then as he set his leaky fountain pen to paper the rain stopped.

This sent Francisco into a depression for which even he was unprepared. He struggled with such fervor to set this scene of pathos. Now it had been destroyed by an arrogant sliver of sunlight across his face. As the clouds broke apart and moved away leaving only blue sky behind Francisco’s depression reached a level that would make the average person incapable of normal functioning but after months of conditioning, it only made Francisco incapable of writing.

Utterly sick of himself, Francisco poured his coffee out the window and stuffed his sandwich into the pocket of his trench coat and slammed the door behind him.

The sun cut into him, left him feeling dry and unkempt. Puddles and running gullies emptied into drains at the street corners and echoed in loud splashes: it sounded to Francisco as if the world had turned into a public restroom, all drips and drippings. His mood turned dull and yellow.

His walking moved him instinctively toward the closest coffee shop, to wash out his mouth with what might burn. He rubbed back his hair and turned in the doorway, seeming smaller in the high ceiling and in his drooping trench coat. The sight of people – a quiet couple near the window, another loner against the far wall – was startling at first, disconcerting, and he made himself smaller by removing his coat and draping it behind a chair. Would my life be less lived if no one noticed it?

Pete behind the counter knew him at least and, without the need to address Francisco, blurred together a cappuccino and set it on the glass countertop.

"Two-seventy, Pete?" Francisco realized this was everyday his first words he spoke to the world. The familiarity was disturbing.

”Yeah, as usual." What else would it be? The need to repeat broke him. The need to repeat broke him.

Go to Part II