The raindrops splashed the puddles before his feet, like soldiers marching in formation, row upon row. The cold and the damp had already penetrated his being. Head bent against the wind and shoulders hunched like some barrier reef, his hat produced its own downpour by diverting the excess it collected, depositing it as an assault upon the marching soldiers below.
Odd how conditions help create a world all their own. If the sun were out today and the sky clear for miles, this would be a world open to the gaze and intersection of any passerby. But this day, this landscape, with a driving beat, had its own cosmos. A person could feel encapsulated, shut up in a cocoon providing shelter from others. No shouting or carrying on was going to stand out. Conditions dictated you pay attention to your own maintenance, and awareness of what might be going on around you take second place.
So this walk, this path he was on, which he traveled many another day, became today a never before experienced experience. The world seemed different, was different, from what it had been only yesterday. He felt alone and was puffed up, in a new way, as though he were the master, captain, and sole inhabitant of this sodden universe. He was safe, to act any way he chose and no one would notice. Others would be busy grappling with their own microcosm.
This pleased his delicate nature. This buoyed him in a way he would find hard to explain. His history of watching out for what others might think and expect, colored his moment to moment existence. But this day had a freedom in it, a cover that allowed some part of him release. Even he felt acknowledgement of it on some faint level. It wasn't a decision to be some way; it was a response to a sense of protection, a sense of camouflage, a sense of permission.
Like the birds who now produced a chorus of high volumed delight, who amped up their play as well, as if they too acknowledged this blanketed condition and thoroughly approved, he began humming some tune aloud. It wasn't a song he knew. It was just humming. A response of his own, made of his own substance, and a smile formed on his lips.
Walter Mitty made flesh, he picked up his pace. He had courage aplenty now and he wanted to reach her door before it all went away. He could do this; he would do this, and today, in this world, under these conditions, knew that he would.