Umbrella’s bloom like mushrooms in the steady rain. We move in a bubble of silence through patter of raindrops, and hiss of car tires. After two blocks I have surrendered all sense of direction. The clouds pressing in on all sides make it seem like we are lost in the sky. In the grayness there is only forward and back, and the countless faces of others passing in the street.
The skeletons of trees stretch their limbs in vain, looking for sunlight in this crowded street. We ride the train for hours, and never seem to get anywhere. Just Lego block buildings, and asphalt in this rectilinear landscape. This city is never ending. There could be no better place for anonymity than in a city of 36 million people. Walking past a shop window I see the rain splattered reflection of my umbrella, and overcoat, before I disappear into the crowd.
It’s been another long day of trains, and taxis, and walks down wet streets, punctuated by short meetings of polite silence. I wonder what good these visits ever do. I am not a participant, but a token, to be brought forward on occasion, like a rook on a chessboard. Neither pawn, nor queen, I have little effect on the outcome of the game. So the day passes, lost in clouds of thought, all memory hidden behind curtains of rain. How many years has it been since I first came to this island? How many more before it becomes nothing more than a photograph in an old book? The names fading, like the faces, until even my memories are lost in the mist.
Nothing here seems certain but the sound of the rain.