Sideways


The day Rose lost her job, the rained turned sideways. She hadn't been expecting it - either getting fired or the change in the rain. Meteorologists hadn't predicted the rain would change directions for at least another month. They typically didn't get sideways rain until May.

Then there was no keeping the dry. The water soaked through your rain coat and squeezed through the seams in old doors and windows. As soon as the doors of the bus opened, people shrank away from the stream of rain jetting in.

The rain had gotten into Rose's jacket through the collar and soaked her shirt. She'd had to stand in the drying room at work for ten minutes before she was dry enough to head to her desk. But then they'd fired her.

"It's nothing against your performance, Rose," Duncan had said while she'd sat on the other side of his desk, trying to keep it together. "It's purely financials. I tried to talk management out of it. I really did. But they were adamant about cutting positions, eliminating redundancy, you know."

"Yeah, I know," she said.

The firm hadn't been getting as many projects lately, even considering no one ever sought architectural drawings this time of year - too much rain. There was no one who'd agree to construct it.

She just hadn't realized business was quite that bad.

When she got to the front lobby of the office building, she didn't even pause to delay her venture into the wet, wet world. She just marched straight over the wet tile and out of the building, the hiss of the sealing doors bidding her goodbye.

She walked as fast as she could, passing her bus stop, her usual coffee shop, hardly caring that the rain was soaking her ankles between her boots and the bottoms of her rain pants, which she hadn't bothered to seal properly.

It wasn't until she stopped under the awning for a coffee shop that she realized how wet she'd gotten. Even under the awning, the sideways rain drilled into her. That's when she let the tears lose. It didn't matter anymore. Since her face was already drenched, no one would be able to tell.

"Are you all right?"

Rose turned around. A woman with a quick-dry caulking gun stood outside the shop, the seals hissing closed behind her. She was covered head to toe in rain resistant gear and her eyes squinted through the deluge.

Rose sniffed and tried to wipe her eyes. They were wet with rainwater anyway. "Oh, yes, I'm fine. Sorry. Am I in the way?"

The woman shook her head. "Just resealing a window here before the shop floods." She pointed to the big window with a picture of a coffee cup painted on the inside. She walked over to the window and ran the caulk gun along the bottom, squeezing the handle.

Rose nodded. "Yeah, don't want that."

The woman stood up when she'd finished. "I can't believe how early the sideways came," she said. "It seems like the dry season just gets shorter and the rainy times get longer and longer every year."

"Yeah, that's true," Rose said. "At least the hail hasn't come yet."

The woman held out her hands like she was bracing for something. "Don't jinx us!" She glanced at Rose. "Are you sure you're ok? Why don't you come in for a cup of coffee?"

"Oh, I'm all right."

The woman smiled. "On the house. Come on. It'll warm you up."

Rose looked out into the torrential rain, then into the warm, golden glow of the coffee shop. There weren't many people inside. When the sideways started, homemade coffee seemed like a better idea than braving the weather. Rose wondered how such a small, leaky place had managed to stay open.

"Well, Ok," she said.

"Great." The woman opened the door and they both rushed inside. "I'll make you a cup from my special blend. It's good for getting great ideas!"

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