Outside, the grey storm clouds are rolling in from the Sierras, bringing a promise of rain, of snow. Fragments of pale blue sky peer through the cloud cover, threatening to burst through with sunlight. With apologies to my friends on the East Coast, I am praying for this storm to materialize to end our long winter drought. I am at work but I am not mentally present. Inside my head, I am revising my latest piece of short fiction, word by word, line by line. My mind is wandering again, and I am watching the storm clouds build, growing in shape and number, winning the battle against the sunlight. The vines outside my office window are swaying to the tempo of the increasing wind, and across the street, an elderly man turns up the collar of his denim jacket in a vain attempt to stay warm. He looks up at the clouds and scurries down the street, trying to outrun the coming rain. The windshield wipers intermittently slide across the windshields of the cars stopped below at the traffic signal. A woman with hair bleached the color of hay runs across against the light, clutching at the brim of her newsboy cap, studded with crystals that catch the fading daylight. A few raindrops hit the window, but not enough to guarantee a rainstorm. The buildings downtown are stark white against the darkening sky and birds are gathering on the utility wires, their black silhouettes adding to the promise of rain.
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