At a red light in the rain
I slowed my car to a stop at the red light. The rain was heavy. Usually I keep the music on in the mornings but this morning I chose to listen to the raindrops instead. Portland has shifted into its rainy season very quickly. It wasn't coming down in sheets yet everything glistened under the grey sky. My eyes followed the water bouncing off the train tracks in the glow of my headlight. How differently everyone in this crowded intersection must have interpreted this moment. I suppose that maybe somewhere amongst the traffic was someone who chose the music over the pitter-patter.
I shifted, looking for the train that I assumed kept us in place. Out of my window I stared at the driver next to me as he rocked back and forth gently. It wasn't cold for November so I quietly wondered why he was rubbing his hands together. The rain ran down his passenger window in streaks, distorting my view, but at moments giving me just enough clarity. He rocked, his cheeks puffed and deflated. The light, still a sizzling red in the morning haze.
Once more I glanced through his window surprised to see him, quite clearly now, playing a harmonica. A warmth spread through me despite not being able to hear a sound. My dad plays the harmonica. Well, he played the harmonica. I remember him honking away at it in the backyard when, my youthful wisdom concluded, he was very bored. I couldn't play it for putty and came to find the sound slightly annoying during our RV road trips across Montana. But now... as I sat in traffic and watched the silent rendition of the huff and puff harmonic symphony I felt very much as if I was sitting with my family in the backyard over a huge bonfire with marshmallows, listening to dads breathy push and pull into his little metal thing-ama-jig.
That kind of warmth lasts all day.