Rainy Day

Perfect day

William Essex


Cruise ship at the end of a dock, lit up at night
Did I mention that I’m not a photographer? My pic, anyway.

There’s a new cruise ship at the end of the dock. It’s lit up like — I’m going to say it — Christmas. I can hear rain on the skylight. This morning I went for coffee with a woman who caught my arm on Friday and said, “I’ve been overhearing your conversation. I’d like to ask your advice.”

So we agreed to meet, same time, same cafe, today, and she bought me a pain chocolat along with my coffee. Good Vibes was closed for a leaking-pipe emergency, so we went downhill to the new Kernow Dine & Deli instead. I don’t think I gave her any advice, but we had enough in common for a happy hour-plus.

She taught me to say “Cela va sans dire.” If I can say that, she told me, I can pass for French in Paris. So long as I don’t say anything else, I replied. I told her about the time I surprised two German-speaking colleagues with my one word of German — “Selbstverstandlich!”

Time was, I could say “Is there a bar here?” in Spanish. My one Russian phrase — sorry about this — roughly translated as “Lie down, there is the ceiling.” I remember in Moscow, years ago, swapping Marlboro cigarettes for vodka. I won’t sneak off to Google Translate for those phrases because that would be cheating. I don’t know them any more.

When chocolate goes without saying

Then I went for a big long thinking-walk in the rain and discovered that my big new coat — strictly, it’s an “All Weather Sherpa Changing Robe” from Vivida — actually is totally waterproof, which was happy-making. There are moods in which a big long — dry — thinking-walk in the rain is exactly the right thing to do…

…and there are moods in which, if it’s already a chocolate-eating day, and wet outside, and cold, the next thing just has to be walking into Rubicund and asking Irene for one of her hot chocolates…

…and if Irene says, “William! Somebody was just in here singing your praises!” and hands over a hand-written note — well, think how perfect the day would be if the author of that note walked back into Rubicund a few moments later…

…and guess what happened next. She came back. Irene made me hot chocolate and she had tea and we talked. In the warm. With the rain outside.

Today was a day. Oh, today was a day.

I’m sitting here wanting to write. I seem to have written. YouTube has deleted all my account settings — because it’s not convinced I’m over eighteen, said the pop-up (yay!) — so it’s playing random music rather than the algorithm’s usual selection…

…Eurythmics. When Tomorrow Comes. Okay. Interesting choice...

Rain is renewal, isn’t it? Here’s the book for today.



William Essex

Former everything. I still write books, I still write stories. Author of The Book of Fake Futures, The Journey from Heaven, Escape Mutation.