It’s raining. I’m walking into a sea of middle-aged Motley Crue fans, each a stunning example of bad wardrobe choice. I am wiping rain off my glasses while wondering, “Did that woman ever look good in that cut away blouse with her breasts unsupported by a bra?”
It’s raining. I’m walking into a room full of MFA students, taking a seat in the Non Fiction ghetto. I’m wondering how the environmental movement survived Abbey, how many loggers ended up in hospital when their chain saw hit a tree spike, whether Craig Childs ever sleeps, ever slows down, ever sips tea while listening to Corelli.
It's still raining. I am sleeping, dreaming about Childs’ desert until the Blue Fox empties out and liquored-up writers jam up against the dorm door like salmon at a weir.
It’s never going to stop raining, not even for me, one virtuous enough to wheel my folding bike out of the dorm at 7 a.m. for a two-hour ride on the coastal trail that soon goes wrong.
I’m wet when I reach where the Sandhill Cranes fed yesterday morning. Their absence is the first of a string of unfortunate events that will deny me a chance to answer writing prompts at the Science Center. I will never ponder what it is like to be a mosquito just before the swat. Never watch a moose chase Rob Pockat into the teeth of a bear.
I wish I could blame a moose for making me late by blocking the bike path but none appears, even after a Cook Inlet wave soaks my left shoe, which a moose would have found funny. I can’t blame bears, brown or black. They didn’t even leave scat for me to swerve around.
I can blame the rain that doesn’t stop. Without the rain, I might have brought a street map, might not have gotten lost in a South Anchorage desert where people suburb along streets with berry names, and bird names, and flower names; would not have found myself going the wrong way on Arlene, circling back to a busy berry street that I had left 30 minutes ago. I might have fallen in love with Arlene if she had led me to the Campbell Creek bike trail.
It’s raining and I am heading the wrong direction on Martin Luther King Junior just before the bus leaves and, to be honest, more important to me, just before someone grabs the last Cobb salad box lunch.
It’s raining, and I’m eating Cobb salad in my dorm room, listening to Corelli, thinking about how I am going to explain my absence from the science center, writing about Arlene, Cobb salad, an empty seat on the bus, feral writers, glam rock fans lacking glamour, and, did I mention, the rain.