The journey starts in the early morning.
By 7:36am the alarm is blaring and we know it’s time to go.
We grab a backpack and carefully put the neon green keychain in the smallest pocket for safekeeping.
Teeth brushed, shoes on and the batteries are all charged as we double check the wallet and phone before finally shutting the heavy apartment door.
As we make our way down the first flight of stairs we stop to stare out the large window that holds an imposing place of honour from the ceiling all the way to the bottom floor. We see a few water droplets crowd together in a corner as they race down as if to see who can make it to the bottom first. We make a right and down a second flight of stairs we go until we reach the ground floor; there we stop and take a picture before stepping outside.
The morning rush seems to be on hiatus today: a few cars go by but nothing like the heavy traffic you would expect on a mid-July day. Although it’s clear a storm is brewing the air is still warm and with that, welcoming. The trees bow down as we pass, the breeze making them wobble from side to side like the white porcelain rocking horse that once sat gloriously on top of the fire place.
We walk fast, music playing in our headphones. We listen to 3 songs by 3 different artists before making it to the first crossing and as we make our way between the tightly packed buildings we see some workmen talking loudly and drinking the first of what is sure to be many more cups of coffee. If we would be walking side by side our strides would match and our steps would be in unison, as perfectly choreographed as the smiles which lay hidden behind thick layers of please-not-again and just-another-day-like-yesterday. Ready to be deployed at a moment's notice if we are ever approached.
We smell the rain and the trees, and the rubbery scent of tires rolling on wet asphalt. We did it, we made it with 10 minutes to spare. On the left is the movie theatre - we glance at it and wonder what it will be showing today. We make a mental note to check it out later but soon forget as we become entranced by the beautifully coloured pride chalk art displayed on the ground. It’s so detailed it’s sure to have taken many hours of hard work and caused plenty of sore knees.
We enjoy walking on the topsy turvy road feeling free as our steps gracefully land on each colour of the rainbow. Although no one is around to see it we are smiling. Some might call today cloudy, depressing and dark.
Not us. We see the beauty hiding timidly between each carefully placed line; skipping merrily from one colour to the next, leaving only watery footprints behind to safe-keep the dear memory of our walking tour adventure.
We raise a finger and point ahead to indicate the way in which we need to go. When we glance over and we see our mirrored gestures a laugh escapes our lips. Our eyes lock and shine bright as they reflect the roads and tall buildings ahead, but most importantly they show the spark of love we keep hidden deep inside our souls like an aura that can only be seen by those with a pure and open heart. We cherish each moment, taking it in as if it would be a precious gift the universe has entrusted us with.
As we step back onto the pavement we are met by an array of smells and sounds: the city has come alive in the golden hour we spent day-dreaming of forbidden escape. Our steps are slower now; it’s our own secret world and we have no desire to rush as we thirstily take in all the astonishing sights; as though we would be witnessing them for the very first time. The gentle sound of our steps meeting each puddle symphonically accompanies the soft chatter of the brave that have ventured out on this stormy day. And when we are no longer shielded by the generously large, sloping roofs the rain drops start falling. Landing silently, they are a cooling, sweet delight on our slightly-too-warm rosy cheeks.
After what feels like an eternity of walking through a man-made paradise we are back in the protective embrace of safety as we re-enter the apartment. Our senses are heightened as the brewing storm lets loose and we watch through the windows as it finally begins its furious rampage through the city, showing little to no mercy to any poor soul left behind.
The once quiet clouds have laid in wait for much too long and are now rebelling - throwing loud, thunderous protests towards all mortals as Mother Earth braces for the impact. But the chaos never comes and the seconds-ago angst filled sky is once again a clear, serene blue ready to withstand many more weeks of pain until it’s time to rage and cry and spill the precious water reserves once more.
At last, a beautiful rainbow graces the sky, manifesting new peace with its familiar colours; a sign that it’s safe for us to venture out again.