Walking in the rain yesterday, alone. On a road walked on, many years ago. Many times. Maybe it only seems like we walked on it many times. Maybe it was only once. A dozen of us, more or less, out on a picnic. There is a photograph, all of us only kids.
We took a train. The boys teased me because I had short hair and wore my father’s shirt and pants and looked like a boy. I didn’t care really.
We got off the station, walked through the market, down to the highway until we could turn down into a lane leading to a waterfall. The highway was littered with yellow flowers. The rain shone on green. We were already drenched when we reached the waterfall. We stood under it; we splashed around in the water. The boy I liked, who had teased me the most in the train, kissed me.
We may have taken this road only once, but there were other roads; it took only a few minutes to get out of the city. There would always be a boy on a motorbike who would drive you out, sometimes maybe a boy in a car. Or you could cycle out on your own or with a girlfriend, and sometimes you could turn into a lane with your best friend and nature would engulf you. Roads led to flowers and waterfalls, to hills and trees, to clouds and sometimes, mist. There were no billboards, or shops, or gutters choked with plastic.
This road is not littered with yellow flowers anymore. The green is plotted and developed. Nature has been purchased to be sold, available tamed and on demand. Happiness is no longer around the corner. You cannot leave the city.
I walk down the road, the gutters stink, the horns never cease to blow. Then two young couples come walking up the road. Their hair is wet; they must have been at the waterfall. They don’t have umbrellas or raincoats. They lean into each other from time to time, touching each other every now and then, as if to remind themselves of their joy.
A creeper grows unbidden on a shackled tree. A mango plops, loud as thunder burst on a tin roof. A chameleon does a pushup. There is torrential rain.