It’s raining tonight. I go as though following the sound where it’s loudest to the other room, to watch where, squatting on the single bed, I can push the screen aside and feel, if not drops, the threat of water flicking on an end of wind through the open window instead of catching on fine wire. The streetlights show me rain at the vanguard of a gust driving up the avenue and the puddles at the intersection when I lean out, still beneath the awning clattering as though to boast of how it shelters: and suddenly, the sight of two awnings on the building opposite makes me think to hear the water clattering on them too and, like picking one instrument’s part from a song, the awnings of all Taipei, a city of awnings, of bits of cymbal hatting windows, of canted, corrugated panels rattling in supplication and complaint to some ancient and presiding god of rain. I think of Maokong then, and who might be there at 2 a.m., of rain falling on the leaves and railings, decks and stone benches; the lighted pavilions nestled in the trees, where on tables carefully laid, water is fast disappearing from the sides of clay teapots; the road like a necklace of streetlights lost in the valley’s folds.
Joann Sfar and Emmanuel Guibert’s rollicking Sardine 4, now at the First Second site with a preview, hits shelves this fall! Or pick up an early copy at SDCC. I’ll be there.