THE FAT GUY UNDER THE CORNICE

The rain hadn’t stopped falling all night. The torrents ran down the streets, and in the many huge potholes little lakes formed. The clogged drains didn’t let the water clear out through the sewers. The electrical system had stopped working and an absolute darkness covered everything. So the sound of footsteps was strange. Who would think of walking out on a night like this? The fat guy shrugged under the cornice of a doorway, picked up his legs even higher, and tried to cover his body with a piece of nylon, but it was practically impossible, and the water kept on soaking him.

Minutes earlier he had thought of moving on but, thinking better of it, he decided to stay under the cornice. In any event he was already completely soaked, and a few drops more or less wouldn’t change a thing. He sensed the footsteps getting closer and almost stopped breathing, so as not to be discovered, but they continued along and, little by little, grew quieter until he ceased to hear them. The fat guy raised his head and watched, lifting the nylon a little: the water kept falling. It seemed it would fall all night. If only it would stop raining for a moment, he could stretch his legs.

The light from some headlights illuminated the street and ran over the dilapidated walls. The purr of a diesel engine broke the silence: the vehicle approached with difficulty, bumping over the potholes. When it came just alongside him, a flood of water and mud splashed over him, making him jump and yell some insults at the lazy and careless driver.

He looked at the piece of nylon, it was dirty and grimy. He let it fall to the sidewalk and began to walk, sinking his feet into the torrent. The ran beat on his face and ran off his body. First he took off his old vest, then his shirt, and then, yard by yard, he continued on until he was naked. When he reached the avenue that ran like a river, he threw off his shoes. He continued walking the whole night and, when the police stopped him, he smiled at them while remembering the first time he had bathed in the rain.

September 1 2011

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