It rained all night in slow reluctant drops. Sandy's smile was limp, but she tried. Warren insisted his red socks sparked, but nobody noticed. We lay on the cots and listened to rain washing the last of autumn's leaves into wet piles of soggy carpet. Tomorrow the trees would still stand, gaunt and plucked, offering winter a stoic indifference. Jill put water for tea on a dark hulk of stove. Faint emberglow touched our cold skin and sank into eyeball and brain. Later, we all slept and woke and turned and sighed - like the leaves falling onto dark earth - finally settling into soft, dim breathing pulsing sinking silence floating through the night.(2)
I splashed water on my face and looked in the cracked mirror - trying to find a name for what I saw. No answer. I looked down, spelled by leaky trickle and brown rust on porcelain. My hand hurt from trying to stop it. What did it matter - the name ? Whatever it was called, it was. Rick's voice had an edge still rough from waking. I hear - I hear I thought. We rolled up our sleeping bags and walked out the door in a line, like turtles bound for the sea..." the last night under this roof"... riccocheted around us. Soon submerged in raw wind and morning traffic fading into the day.(3)
The park was still green in places. More and more burnt umber and grey. The benches still damp. Only shuffling vagrants wandering away into the day. Jill's question about jobs caused snickering ripples - but Rick and Warren uncertainly launched themselves into street-tide and flowed away. Jill, Sandy, and I applied in a dingy office for maid work but "no address ?!" closed the door. When sun surrendered to a haze of clouds and drizzle we all straggled to the park. Rick stood staring numbly at me. "Feel like an adobe brick dissolving in rain". I kissed him. "Rick the brick." I said. We laughed. All piled together under a leafy bush big enough to hide us and gave up to cold hungry sleep sliced by now and then sirens.(4)
Sandy elbowed me awake. The sun was ripe in my eyes. Rick was smiling. He looked taller. "I't's cleaning a Thrift Shop at night", he said. "They have sweaters and coats and 10 dollars a day...I bought sandwiches." They were already half gone. It was good beef and cheese. The world did a flip-flop and revived into living people. We were still damp from the long night of soaking. Every vertebra protested. But a slanted dazzle had descended from somewhere. That night the stars seemed so near they even pierced our bush-tent with clear sleep and a faraway music of hope.