Where I come from, the rain either poured or danced under rays of sunlight. Rainy days crept up on me in silent acceptance of the ways of nature. They resemble the ire of human nature or the gentle reflection of beauty amidst tempest.
Light streamed from the rooftop of an opposite building into my hotel room. The stretched beams bounced off the adjacent walls to project a smoky ambiance to the dull, now partially brightened room.
I thought about how the lights shifted the drudgery of darkness to create an almost magical illusion for the naked eye.
A look at the clock on the wall said it was four-thirty a.m. I had roused earlier than usual.
I got out of bed and walked to the bathroom.
A glance at the mirror on the way reflected the tired eyes of a weary traveler.
I rubbed my eyes, willing the redness to go away. It had been a long forty-eight-hour flight the previous day. The short transit hours during the journey didn't help, so it felt like I traveled the whole way - non-stop.
My bones ached from sitting upright in the plane, wedged between two people, with not having the freedom to move with ease.
Long plane rides were excruciating, to say the least.
I was approximately fifteen thousand miles away from home, and the new surroundings welcomed me with eager cravings to explore places of relevance and interest.
Learning about the culture, history, and the different denominations that survived a nation is of profound advantage to a tourist, in order to understand the ways of the locals better.
I draped the blanket around me, the warmth, comforting, as I walked up to the window.
It was then I noticed the glistening raindrops on the windowpane. It was no wonder the damp outside. It looked like there had been a heavy downpour in the wee hours of the morning.
Clearly, I slept deeply not having heard the rain outside.
The glare from the streetlights showed that the rain was still falling heavily. Under the bright lights, they were visibly enchanting over the still dark that shadowed the whole area.
There goes the rain. Pitter-patter, pitter-patter, the raindrops create puddles on the tarmac. They play an imaginary tune in my imaginative mind.
I have always loved watching the rain descend. It is a phenomenal experience that invigorates your whole senses. And after, you will be revitalized by the freshness of the air surrounding you. Deeply rejuvenating, it somewhat uplifted the world of its dreariness.
I stood looking down at the puddled waters, then wondered if I should go back to bed. It was a welcoming thought since it was not yet five a.m. On the other hand, a cup of coffee sounded even better. It would warm my insides.
However, I stood right by the window and watched the rain a little longer. It was beautiful to see how they fell in lyrical parody, that enlivened the sight and cleared the mind of fogged thoughts. A beautiful symphony of nature's untamed music is what came to mind. As the rain fell harder, the sounds were boisterous and when it simmered to a halt, they fell in wordless wonder.
The slim, tall trees swaying in the shadows of the light, leaves dancing to the wind, and the obscure buildings which were lighted on the rooftop, made the whole scenic view outside look like a story from the past. Maybe a tale of a girl who stood by the window, watching the early morning rainfall would make the crux of the storyline. It did seem appropriate.
Enveloped by the morning mist, I thought about how the buildings had withstood the test of time. How durable were the buildings to survive rain, snow, and whatever else that had crossed their paths in the face of adversity?
Every new place that I traveled to had a unique story all its own. It was just a matter of discovering and retelling the stories. Someone once told me that stories of the long-gone era were buried deep and laid down in monuments of stones, indomitably entrenched within the soils of its land.
It was going to be a long day, I could tell.
Didn't the rain begin the day by creating distraction and tardiness?
I had plans to do some sightseeing, but as the virus infection was spreading at an alarming rate, people were warned against going to crowded places or being out anywhere for that matter. Most of the tourist attractions were closed to the public.
It was definitely the wrong time to be in New York. The statistics of the casualties who succumbed to the infection in the state were frightening. Nearly a thousand a day fell victim to the infection. An alarming number that numbed minds.
It was strange to see the world crumbling to the Covid 19 virus. And, given the modern-day medicinal advancements, it seemed absurd that there was no cure, as yet, for the infection. The effects of infection were terminal, like cancer and the like.
Going by the news, scientists, doctors, and lawmakers were scrambling to find a vaccine. Lawmakers, since they were responsible for the healthcare system were answerable to the people for the delay in finding a vaccine, a delay which led to heavy death casualties.
Since I was privy to the beginning of an infectious period, I, just like the world around me, was wondering if we would face another pandemic. I was starting to believe that with the catastrophic rise in the number of infections culminating in death, a global pandemic was about to unravel.
The Spanish flu at its heist killed nearly 50 million people at the start of the 19th century. How many will the Covid 19 strain kill in the 21st? It does seem like history is repeating itself after a hundred years.
I walked out of the hotel after the rain stopped.
The cold hit me hard across my face. I overheard someone remark that snow is expected within the next few weeks. Would it turn out to be a blizzard like the last time when it snowed? I had heard about how due to climate change, New York was hit with snowstorms and blizzards on the local news channel at that time.
Well, I will be back home by then. I was only staying for a couple of days in New York.
I thought to just linger around the hotel vicinity until the tour shuttle came around. I thought to have breakfast at a diner I caught sight of down the road when I arrived the night before.
I took a slow walk, a little down that road, then turned back. It was freezing, below three degrees, and I felt my whole body stiffen even through the warm clothes. The harsh weather turned me back to the hotel grounds.
I wondered at the way I felt. It felt unusual to feel the cold seep into my bones. Perhaps, climate change had changed the weather pattern everywhere drastically. Here I was, covered in two layers of thick clothing plus a pullover, and still felt the effects of extreme cold!
I ate in the breakfast room of the hotel instead and went back to the lounge area to wait for the shuttle.
I nodded at a man who stared at me, who turned away when I acknowledged his presence. Excuse me, but, I didn’t understand his curiosity or his unfriendliness.
Was it hard to return an acknowledgment, maybe a smile back would have been nice. I wasn’t sure if he was new to the place like me. Anyway, I didn’t want to know. Maybe he was a dangerous specimen prowling about the place. It was best not to flirt with danger.
I turned away from his close proximity and walked to another area where a lady sat next to a child in the pram.
I could tell that the baby was a boy by the way he wore his blues with pride. His clothes were blue, and his pram was decked in blue - a blue blanket, blue soft toys, and a blue-rimmed milk bottle. He was fast asleep and I thought him the cutest.
I smiled at the lady who returned my smile. At last, a friendly face. She seemed a little too young to have a child, but then, looks can be deceiving these days.
Women don't really look their age with all the beauty products they apply to themselves. Also, with good nutrition and better living conditions, they stay fit and appear younger than their actual age.
"Where are you from?" I asked, as a start to the conversation.
"I am a New Yorker," she replied.
She left me guessing as to why she stayed at the hotel, now that New York was her home.
"Are you waiting for the shuttle? I am going downtown for some sightseeing," I added quickly.
"No, I am not," she replied, yet again a smile playing on her beautiful face.
I stared hard at her when she turned a little away. She did look like she had a lot on her mind. I wondered what it was and wished that we could get to be friends. It would be interesting to know her story.
The baby started moving at that juncture, and she carried him, snuggling him close to her chest. Perhaps, it was feed time. We ended our conversation, and I walked away to give her some privacy.
She left me guessing as with everything else, but, the rain that day.
I learned something about the ways of New Yorkers, or were people the same everywhere?