Welcome to the A to Z Challenge : 26 Stories during the month of April
Welcome to… The Apartment Building: Swan Rise
(For Links to the previous stories, CLICK HERE
The Weather Man rode the elevator with a daily proclamation, the steel enforced walls girding him the fortitude to meet the day. When he first moved into the building with his wife and dog, it was always a “Fine day to you!”, a tip of his hat, and a gaze that never faltered. He and his moved about, coming and going at all times of the day, seemingly living to just enter or disembark and greet all encountered.
“Oh, it’s cold outside.”
“Oh, the rain is coming.”
“Oh, it’s Summer now.”
His walking shoes were seldom replaced for boots; only on the muckiest of days. Dark pants, plaid or plain shirt, and padded elbow jackets were his uniform, and only a parka covered that during the height of the winter months. Never a cross mien, never an unkind word, but you’d know about the weather of the day, wanting it or not, as he passed you by.
When his dog was alive, they were as one. Quiet, looking forward, a quick comment, and then out with a nod. The two would wander the streets, up and down the road, crossing the avenues, into the grassy plains. And walk…the two would walk. Returning only delayed the inevitable: they’d be out again, sooner than later, with the same report of mother nature being extolled if you ran across them in their outings.
Then the dog passed onto the hereafter, and The Weather Man seemed lost. Rarely venturing out with his wife to begin with, he now was a solitary figure following the same pathways he and his friend always took. At first there was a jingling upon his arrival or departure from the Otis contrivance; a slight tinkle as his hand reached into his jacket pocket. Soon that mystery was solved, as The Weather Man wound his dog’s leash and tags around his right hand and wrist, openly, and made no mention of it.
If an accident occurred on the parkway, The Weather Man would wander over and stare. Up and down the road he’d go, looking at the destruction from as many angles as he could, as if studying it for later use. Hands in his pockets, he’d then meander away from the building for hours on end.
He was seen, often, at The Frolicking Lamb, keeping his head down as he nursed his dark lager. The Weather Man always sat with his back against the wall, at the rear of the pub, and most said they always felt one eye on them when he was around, but they could never be certain. It was said that Frank, Ted and Ardel, who had newly came over from the emerald isles, were seen walking into the Lamb but went running out after noticing him there. They wouldn’t talk about it, and that was all there was to that.
It was also said that, on clear nights, The Weather Man would climb out onto the fire escape of Swan Rise and climb to the top. There he would sit, with a scrap of paper, short nub of a pencil, and the leash bound to him like skin. Notes would be made, a code he had known before but now was finding it slip away. A flash of light would startle him, but it was only a high beam reflected off low lying fog, and he’d return to trying to recall what he was good at, once.
The Weather Man forgot, and in his forgetting he let go of the past: all his crimes (as said by some; heroic duty, as said by others), all his loves, all his cares, but the weather.