Finding Love Amidst January Rains


January generally has little to recommend it. It is a time when everyone feels like they have eaten too much and spent too much after the holidays. There is not much to look forward to in January. It also has the worst weather of the year.
In Portland, Oregon there is going to be unrelenting rain, dampness and cold. Portland’s normally mild weather can turn pretty inhospitable in January.
In my first novel “Sunbreaks” I used January in Portland has the location of a blossoming love affair between two very different people who find one another by chance amid the dreary days of January.
Tom became a widower two years earlier and has lived a sad, lonely couple of years. Then on one rainy day in a coffee shop in Portland things change. Here is an excerpt from “Sunbreaks.”
The first time I remember seeing her was on a rainy, dark morning in January of 2004.
When my son from San Francisco visits me, he always says that Portland smells like coffee and everyone wears black and gray. It was on one of those black and gray mornings that Erika made her first appearance. It was raining steadily when she entered the coffee shop wearing a tan raincoat. The hood was pulled over her head obscuring most of her face as she entered. She got in line to get her coffee and tried to shake off her umbrella while holding onto her large purse. I took note of her entrance but became very interested in watching her when she pulled back her hood revealing her beautiful face.
She gave everyone she encountered a kind smile and seemed to be a very warm presence. I wondered if this was the first time she had stopped by this coffee shop in the morning. I would have surely noticed her, even in my semi-alert state early in the morning, as I ingested my first caffeine jolt.
Erika is a tall, slender woman with large light-blue eyes. Her face is surrounded by long, thick black hair, which hangs below her shoulders. Her hair forms a perfect frame for her face. I guessed she is about five foot nine or ten and I pegged her age at somewhere in her thirties.
She is a beautiful woman, but what makes her extra attractive is the way her face lights up when she talks. As she talks, her face is very animated and her eyes twinkle. It is a stunning combination. I found that I could not take my eyes off her from the first time I saw her. It wasn’t just that she was a beautiful woman…there was something else drawing me to her that I couldn’t quantify.

Later in the month, Tom and Erika’s paths finally cross.
As I pulled into the lot, I noticed a woman struggling to get a large box out of the back of her car. She was completely covered by her raincoat and hood. The woman was also struggling to hold her umbrella over her head. I was certain it was a woman since there was a beautiful, slim pair of legs and red high heels below the raincoat. She looked like she needed help.
As I exited my car I couldn’t quite get there fast enough to help her. Before I could help, she dropped her large purse spilling its contents out onto the rainy pavement. I now ran quickly to assist her. I extended my umbrella over her head and said, “Let me help.”
She lifted her head and when I could see inside the hood of the raincoat, my eyes met two large blue eyes and the beautiful face of the woman from the coffee shop.

Find out what happens as a result this rainy encounter in January in my novel “Sunbreaks.”

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About gregmessel

I've written six novels and am working on a seventh. My first three novels were "Expiation," "Sunbreaks" and "The Illusion of Certainty." I'm now working on a series of mysteries set in San Francisco in the 1950s. In 2008, I retired from corporate life and so I can spend more time writing. I spent over ten years in the newspaper business. I now live on Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, just north of downtown Seattle.
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