“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Gaia, happy birthday to you.” The voice in my head was an excellent singer as I walked down Simone Boulevard through the pouring rain. I thought about what I wanted for my birthday and concluded that the Ring I got last Thursday was my birthday present to myself. It's not like I could afford any other presents. Folks hunched under their rain jackets brushed by me rushing to get to shelter, but I didn’t rush. Rushing is for people who have a destination in mind.
I had made no attempt to protect myself from the elements so the rain was soaking me to the bone. I was rubbing the Ring between my thumb and forefinger as I approached Rainbow River, exposing the precious metals in the Ring to the full force of the storm. I followed the sound of the flowing water past the fishing shop towards the river until, out of nowhere, a bolt of lightning struck somewhere in town, illuminating the surrounding area for a split second. In this light I saw a lone figure, sitting on the bank of the river. Baker Shefield.
I pocketed the Ring and approached the only other person willingly weathering the storm.
“Why are you out here?” I asked.
Baker turned around, clearly startled by my presence, but still responded, “I’m hiding.”
Neither of us said anything for a minute with the rain filling our silence. Then Baker said, “What are you looking for out here in the storm?”
I thought for a moment, unable to respond. I couldn’t think of a reason for anything I’d done since I got my birthday present, except for that some strange force was guiding me. Then all of the sudden a flash of lighting beamed from the sky and struck the river right next to us. I dove away from Baker and ran downstream. What was I looking for? Eventually I stopped running and looked at the flowing river. Fish were floating lifelessly by, not resisting the flow of the current at all. I reached over, grabbed one, and took a bite.