It’s been raining all day.

The children’s laughter drowns the sound of the steady downpour and the voices of their anxious mothers urging them to return indoors. They run around, trying to catch each other and the elusive blobs of luscious rain. The fun is in the chase not the capture, and they are happy even when their little paper boats sink in the chocolate-brown water swirling down the lane.

***

On the main road, passers-by jump about trying to save themselves from the angry spray of revenge-seeking mud-spattered cars. The road is now like a sullen muddy river, and their efforts are mostly in vain. They hurry home to the comfort of dry clothes, a hot meal and, perhaps, a warm embrace.

***

A group of college friends, under the awning of the roadside teashop, discuss where to take off in the heady rain. Their mobikes are washed clean and gleaming and raring to challenge the unceasing pour. The ginger tea is tangy and sharp, adding flavour to their day. They take one last sip, kick their mobikes to life and zoom off into the exciting sheet of rain.

***

They sneak out of office and meet at the café round the bend, at the end of the street. Both have found an excuse to leave work early on this impatient and wet-with-anticipation day. They look at each other and smile, silently agreeing that words will have to wait. Hand in hand they walk into the sizzling rain.

***

Grey-black clouds hang like wet laundry stretched across the sky. There is smell of mould and heartache in the air. She sits by the window, looking at the world outside and the happy children prancing about, but she can only see big droplets of loneliness and pain. Her own children are now in another country, making a life in which she has no place. They do their duty, of course, calling up every week, without feeling and without fail. She has lived for this weekly charade, for the last few years after her husband passed away. But she will not burden herself or her children any more. The telephone is ringing, yet she gets up ignoring the piercing sound in her ears and the stabbing ache in her knees, and walks out to join the children dancing in the rain.

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