Rain in NOLA
I zip my pink raincoat up to my chin. Flip on the hood and head out. Rain falls. So common to New Orleans, but missing in action for weeks then months. We’ve had beautiful fall weather, but we glanced at the sky, wary of the dry clouds.
At my feet, rain dimples puddles. The toes of my tennis shoes disappear in the runoff. I turn left onto the sidewalk were striped awnings provide cover, or accelerate the drip. The way ahead is clear. Only one family jostles under a solitary umbrella, curving their shoulders as if that could ward off the wet. We are not made of sugar, but we pretend we are.
The yellow and green tiles fronting Casamento’s appear at my feet. The pattern gives way to the divot of sidewalk that dips before you arrive at the famous Miss Mae’s. I am not going to Miss Mae’s. I stop here where the narrow shop of Undergrowth Coffee hides, which my pun-inclined mind always thinks should be Underground Coffee.
The clerk who takes my order calls me, “Baby.” That’s the way it is in New Orleans, rain or shine. “Baby” or “Love” or ‘My sweetie” or—I kid you not—”Cher.” Some of it is put-on for tourists, but not here in this cubbyhole of a coffee shop on Magazine Street.
Outside, I zip the hood back up. Hold my palm over the sippy hole in the coffee lid to keep the rain out. I walk the rubble that passes for a shoulder on our street. Relics of former restaurants wave me goodbye. Along the way, raindrops patter leaves. When I get home, I’ll see how the new fabric on the porch glider has held up in its first rain. The solar lights wrapping Godzilla won’t get any energy today.
The iron gate squeaks open. I run the flat of my palm across the glider’s geometric shapes, the chair’s black and white beetles. All is well. I’m home.