August 4, 1991
the short war was over. Derek came to the city. The city was clicking and buzzing with raw, nervy energy.
Even though he was no good at playing the games that lead to advancement, his skill with helicopters engines and computers had made him indispensable to his unit and his commanding officers. So he was a corporal on leave wondering what to do next. He had always followed chance. He had an image in his mind of himself as a leaf blown here and there. As the wind shifted, he would allow himself to be carried along with it. He was always able to end up in a decent position, nothing to complain about.
Heavy rain just before dawn woke him from dreams he forgot almost immediately. The large drops pounded on the Balcony and metal roof of the shanty inn.
Tatters of cloud shredded in front of the scattering wind were set aflame by the lowering sun. In his mind he could hear a requiem mass with thundering bass and piercing soprano altogether in clamorous harmony with the sky. Here and there notes of vivid blue opened and closed in the higher dark gray blanket untouched by the sun’s fire. The city was sodden, weighed down under constant rain, drooping and sullen, but the sky and mind music lifted Derek’s spirit as he walked hopping over puddles with shoulders hunched down in the collar of his drab green coat, and hands pushed deep in its pockets. He knew in other places nearby houses were under water, rivers were raging at the top of their levees and people were frantically filling sandbags that other people heaved into place to forestall the inevitable overflow. Derek, who had nothing to keep dry but himself, was not worried.