Each street looked the same as the next. Brick buildings crowded shoulder to shoulder, concrete sidewalks led under raised porches to iron grated lower entrances, street corner convenience stores repeated themselves with variations too subtle for any but the people who lived there to mark.
One street was different, however. It was different because his car was parked at its curb and he needed to find it before the intensifying rain became a downpour. He could smell the wet wool from his blue blazer and thought ruefully of his umbrella, safely ensconced in the car door storage bin.
He didnít feel the interview had been successful even though he knew she would be praying for him. And then he thought of her yesterday at church, her dark, flashing eyes pulling him in, the rich tones of her alto voice, the warmth of her hand as he clasped it in his own while praying for the coming week. And, despite the rain, now a torrent, he looked up and laughed.
*Just singing in the rain
What a glorious feelin'
I'm happy again
I'm laughing at clouds
So dark up above
The sun's in my heart
And I'm ready for loveí
He was thoroughly soaked by the time he found the car. The steam rose from his body as he keyed the ignition and felt the engine come to life. On went the wipers and lights, and as he pulled out into traffic he began to go over yesterdayís conversation.
Years after his divorce, he found himself assuming a position of leadership in the singles groups, facilitating discussions, teaching classes. She never came before, but now there was a discussion group about a Christian dating book and hers was a voice of common sense in a sea of confusion. Yesterday she introduced herself to him.
"I understand you were an AG pastor," she said, New York City obvious in her every word. "My ex was also an AG Pastor."
"Then you know I canít get my credentials reinstated if I remarry. Do you know anything about the CCNA?"
"I was raised in it," she laughed. "Italian Pentecostals needed their own denomination so they could keep drinking wine."
And as they talked they were amazed at the numerous points their lives had nearly intersected, the places and schools and conferences they had attended at dates and times the other was absent. They were astonished at how many friends and acquaintances they had in common. Scenes from a movie played in their remembrance. A staple of many comedies have the cinematic plots contrive to put the hero and heroine at the same hotel, when a premature meeting could spell disaster, and then tease the viewer by having them just miss each other as they exited and entered doors and hallways and lobbies, crossing behind columns and moving luggage carts, blissfully unaware of each other until the final happy resolution was assured.
And as they met again, and talked and laughed, more scenes from a movie played. The leaves of the oak tree in front of her home under whose boughs they first kissed turned red then fell to the ground. Snow covered its branches as they saw it through the window over the Pastorís shoulder while they exchanged their vows. Calendar pages fell and tender green leaves emerged trembling from the branches again.
And as the calendar pages kept tearing loose and falling away, they laughed and cried and traded hard words and tears for comforting embraces.
Another scene from a movie, an old man stacks chairs on empty tables and sweeps as the couple dance slowly and hold each other close, not wanting to let go of the moment. Although they are not dancers and do not frequent clubs, they live in the spirit of this scene, as do all who fall in love.
Years later he leaves the office for lunch. The rain is coming in sheets and he thinks ruefully of his umbrella, comfortably ensconced in the storage compartment of his car door, three parking lots away. As he runs to his car, thinking ahead to the quick phone call to his wife, he laughs.
*Why am I smiling
And why do I sing?
Why does September
Seem sunny as spring?
Why do I get up
Each morning and start?
Happy and head up
With joy in my heart
Why is each new task
A trifle to do?
Because I am living
A life full of you.
*"Singin' in the Rain, film score." Classical Work Reviews. All Media Guide, 2006. Answers.com 23 Apr. 2007. http://www.answers.com/topic/singin-in-the-rain-film-score
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