The rain claimed the courtyard that night, but stopped at the narrow doors of the guest house, only three steps up from the bricks. We had one last, full day in that little city, and we refused to let a bit of flooding dissuade the day. Without even realizing it, in the short time we’d been there, we had completely succumbed to the air of New Orleans – enjoying all that is, rather than what isn’t. So we ignored our kind host’s warnings and climbed out the back bedroom window to take the dry path behind the courtyard.
The gutters drummed along with the beats of drizzle and downpour. Drum and drizzle, drum, drum, drum and drizzle – as if waiting for the horns to join the line. Laurel was already a shallow stream, but the sidewalks rolled high enough over old oak roots to avoid the current. Still the cars crept and crammed along those narrow streets. I stopped to get a shot of one of the yards where the long leaves dripped, then took a right on Arabella. I expected to see you heading toward Magazine, where we planned to catch the bus, but there was no one else walking. It was possible you’d turned one street sooner, while I was taking pictures. I thought you would be waiting at the bus stop, but you weren’t. We had ten minutes at least, if the lines were running on schedule, which was doubtful in such weather. I tried to call your cell, but you didn’t answer, I assumed you’d gone into the drugstore for gum or hard candies because you could never just wait. And then the bus came and left without us.