We sauntered down the sidewalk, doing our best to dodge puddles. The rain had come and decided to stick around. By day three it had well overstayed its welcome. Its first showers had cleaned the city and nourished the trees, now it just filled storm drains and turned side streets into shallow canals. Our usual walk to the supermarket became a trek through the delta of some great mysterious murky river.
She held my arm and we both tried to fit under the umbrella. It was far too small, it leaked too, which is a pretty major design flaw as far as umbrellas go. We maneuvered down the narrow sidewalk avoiding other umbrellas and the tsunamis kicked up by passing buses. Whenever I looked over at her, though, she had a relaxed smile- beatific as if we were relaxing at the beach.
My glasses fogged when we entered the supermarket. I put one of the plastic umbrella condoms on the wet fabric and grabbed a basket. With them both hooked on my arm I took off my glasses to try to wipe the fog away with my shirt. When I replaced my specs and got my bearings I could just make out the top of her head amongst the tables and displays of fruits both exotic and mundane.
She had a bag and was squeezing grapefruit. She looked at each one intensely, as if she could xray them and see the exact ripeness hidden within the orange skin. She chose one, then another, dropping them in a bag that looked unable to bear that much weight. She smiled when she looked up and saw me. I smiled back and grabbed a bag for some plantains.
The basket grew heavy with the spectrum of fruit in plastic bags. She furrowed her brow at the scene. She didn’t like seeing all those plastic bags, particularly surrounding her fruit. Not for some pseudo scientific reasoning or even strongly environmental one, she just thought they looked better in something like burlap. She said that’s what she always imagined they were put in straight from the tree or bush, and she thought it matched their colorful aesthetic better. I’ll bring some mini burlap bags next time I said with a laugh. She smiled wide. I swear they’d look better that way.
We looked at the meat counter. There she would insist on as many plastic bags as the butcher would give us. She liked her meat in sterile conditions, I joked about using the burlap bags and she physically shuddered.
Milk was added to the steak and fruit. A six pack of Okinawan beer soon joined after a discussion of what country or subdivision we wanted to drink that day. Some orange chocolates rounded out the purchase. We paid at the register with exact change, which was always her preferred way of doing it. She always left the store with an extra spring in her step if she pulled it off.
We stepped back out into the rain with our goods, and began our journey with smiles that made the rain seem to fall with the beats of our hearts.