Rain was falling in torrents on the summer pavement outside the restaurant. Because the restaurant was slightly below street level, the man at the table gazed at water rapids that had quickly formed exactly at his eye-level. So far it was a curious summer. Curious, because somehow summer was missing, and in its place came this mysterious month of monsoons that was June. Now July seemed to be punctuating the June onslaught with extremely heavy rainstorms so thick and powerful that the rain and wind shattered umbrellas like fragile toothpicks.
As he watched the storm, he felt oddly comfortable with the violence outside the window at eye-level. It was as though he was in the midst of the storm but protected in some sort of time-shift that left him immune to the elements. It was as though he was traveling through time, and observing transformations of space through the mutation of time, somehow embedded in the intimacy of Time while remaining aloof.
He realized that part of this surreal scene was in the afternoon that encapsulated the past in a strange calling forth of time remembered through meeting a friend and colleague that he had not seen for about 25 years. Yet lately he had chance encounters with him on the street, by the library, or at a restaurant, in a tapestry of crossing paths that finally had led to this meeting in a restaurant across from the park. North Square had gone through many incarnations, yet it continued to dwell cozily ensconced in a New York scene that could have easily been in another century, for there was nothing to suggest that we had turned the corner into a new century that was already tempestuous and teetering on the verge of being out of control.
Their conversation wove together the past and the present, each coming from realities and perceptions that existed like parallel universes suddenly colliding in a moment of mutual recognition. Now the rain came like a veil to conceal and seal the moment into an altered awareness that might continue to grow. As violently as the torrential downpour transformed the streets into rivers, it now dwindled into a quiet moment of punctuating this summer afternoon as a past remembered and a promise of discovery.