Rain Brings an Unexpected Friend

Aline de Nadai

Gwen felt tired, so very tired.

She felt tired of her manager refusing to let her, a highly skilled software engineer, work on anything except menial tasks. Simply because she was a woman and according to him, girls can’t code.

Working long hours, and not having much of a social life left her feeling down. In building her career she had lost touch with many of her friends.

Living alone was becoming tiresome. Her downtown loft apartment was too empty now that her roommate had moved out to pursue a career in the arts.

She missed her great-aunt Stacy terribly. She had passed away in a tragic traffic accident nearly one year ago.

As a child Gwen would visit her great-aunt on days like this, listening to her fantastical stories while sipping hot chocolate next to the fire. Gwen felt a pang of loss for those simpler times.

Most of all, right at that very moment, the rain made her feel weary. It had been raining all week. Gwen felt resignation as she walked home in the rain, getting wet and being cold once again. While her bright red umbrella kept the worst of the rain away, it did nothing to keep her long skirt dry or the mud from clinging to her boots.

On any other day, walking through the park near her apartment building would lift her spirits. Throughout autumn many of the trees had been a riot of colour as their leaves changed with the change in the seasons. A few late-blooming flowers could also be found if visitors to the park looked closely enough.

Now that it was winter, the leaves that were so colourful in autumn now lay dead and brown on the ground. The flowers had gone, and many of the flower beds were fallow. In summer the big trees that gave welcome shade, now in winter they made the path cold and gloomy.

The gloom matched Gwen’s mood.

As Gwen passed under one of the largest trees, a shower of heavy water drops splattered against her umbrella. Something was falling out of the tree, and crashing into branches on the way down. With a thump it hit her umbrella, and in her surprise she nearly dropped it. Whatever it was that hit her umbrella slid down the taut fabric with a scritching and scratching noise.

It fell off the edge of the umbrella and landed in a puddle at Gwen’s feet with a splash. Looking at it closely in the gloom she was able to see that it was a small animal. Crouching down she saw a puppy with dirty white fur. The wet fur was matted to its body. Gwen suspected that when the fur was dry, the puppy would be a cute little bundle of fluff.

“Aren’t you a cute little thing”, she said as she reached out to the puppy. “What are you doing all the way out here in the cold and wet?”

The curious little puppy reached out and sniffed her hand. It started wagging its tail happily and ran around her feet in excitement. She picked up the wet and dirty puppy. It wriggled in her arms and licked her fingers. She checked it over carefully, looking for any injuries, and noticed that it wasn’t wearing a collar.

“Well” she said the puppy, “You’d better come home with me and we’ll get you warm and dry. What do you think?”

The puppy tilted its head, looked at her quizzically and barked once softly. Happy with her decision Gwen resumed her walk home, feeling less gloomy with a spring in her step and a warmth in her heart.