The day started with spilled tea. It crept down the side of Ava’s counter, staining the white marble with the remedy for another night’s lack of sleep.
It was the rain that kept her up. Usually, it lulled her to sleep, but something about this storm was different. It had an air of mystery to it, one that wrapped itself around the entire city like a thick cloak. The water covered everything.
Ava glanced at the soft pink clock on her wall as she wiped up the Chai tea that was still warm. It was 5:30. She was awake before the sun had even started to cross the sky. Around her, the earth rattled. A sudden flash of white lit up the room for a split second, and she was immersed in darkness once again.
It hadn’t rained since she returned from San Francisco. The city was too busy for her. Everyone and everything in it moved too fast, so she returned home, back to the run down part of town that shaped her.
The rain was too beautiful, too new, to just sit inside and watch it from her window. It was the kind of storm that demanded to be felt, to be captured.
Ava raced to her bedroom, stepping over piles of clothes and stacks of records to find her raincoat. The bright yellow was easy to spot, hanging from her closet door like it knew she was going to come looking for it. She slipped it over her shoulders and threw on the worn-out red Converse that she wore every day.
Before closing her door, she decided to grab her camera. It was a Leica, one that her grandmother gave her before she departed for the west coast five years ago. The roll of film in it was only half used. Ava tended to save it for special occasions, for awe-inspiring sunsets and couples dancing, and she deemed tonight as one.
Outside, the rain pounded against the sidewalk. Water lapped at her feet as she walked. It trickled into her shoes as if it had always belonged there, and although the shock of the cold sent shivers down her spine, she pushed on.
She walked until she could see the abandoned park from Canary Street. It had always been her favorite place to go when she was in high school. It felt right to revisit the place she spent so many sleepless nights.
By then, the rain started to lessen just enough for her to be able to see if she squinted. Carefully pulling her camera out of the pocket sewn into the inside of her rain jacket, Ava raised it to her eye. She wanted to wait for the perfect moment to capture. It was the last picture left on her roll of film, and she had to make it count.
It was as if the heavens were on her side, because as she clicked the button, lightning hit the ground and illuminated the entire city.
For a second, she swore she saw a man lingering by the fountain, but it had to be a trick of the light. Shaking her head, she returned home.
No one was crazy enough to brave this storm, except Ava, maybe.