Jonathon was perched atop the Pyramid skyscraper.
The whistling gusts and swirling rain were of no consequence to him. He was unshakably focused on Veronica Jones in the side street far below.
He fluttered the droplets of rain off his wings and and swiveled his head to keep Veronica Jones in his sight. Very loyal, he was concerned. A sixth sense.
The late night downpour was drenching San Francisco's streets, lashing the red brick buildings and the windowpanes of shops.
The city slept, and the pavement shimmered in the glow of the streetlamps.
The occasional cab sped by. The clunking and clanging of a cable car rang in the distance, and a siren screamed from somewhere unseen
Veronica Jones walked briskly through the rain from her inconveniently parked car six blocks from The Lounge, her footsteps echoing in the empty side streets.
She silently cursed how difficult it is to find a parking space in San Francisco.
She wore a fashionably retro ankle-length rain cape and tightly fastened rain hat. She quickly made her way toward The Lounge on Sutter Street, two blocks west of Union Square, hoping not to be too drenched on arrival.
Veronica leaned in with her shoulder to open the tall and heavy oak door that led to the cavernous lounge. She quickly unzipped her raincoat, shook the water off her umbrella, placed them in the hatstand and looked in the mirror: her makeup was fine.
Poised and elegant, she exhibited a self-schooled demeanor of grace and charm. Veronica was a self-taught sophisticate.
She was wearing a short-cropped, grey tweed jacket and a full, white, mid-calf skirt suit. Her short, neatly coiffed, strawberry-blonde hairstyle perfectly complemented her striking face and and carefully made-up smokey eyes
The Lounge, a massive cathedral of a piano bar, was friendly, with an Old World charm.
High ceilings gave The Lounge a grandeur, with spotlit portraits in heavy gold and silver frames and candlelit sconces every few feet high on the flock-papered walls.
Plush rugs and clunky coffee tables on the wooden floors, chesterfield sofas and armchairs strategically placed throughout. A couple of waiters in white shirts, cute waistcoats and pressed black trousers with white aprons tend to the customers.
Veronica smiled a cheery greeting to Mike behind the bar and pulled up a bar stool.
"I'm early," she said. "I have time for a drink."
Mike poured her a vodka martini with olives, and she sipped it slowly, smiling "hello" to several customers and waving across the room to others.
Several minutes passed, and she chatted amiably with Mike.
When it was time to begin her set, she looked across to the grand piano that was at the far end of the bar.
Next to some floor-to-ceiling windows framed in voluminous velvet drapes, and several feet away, a hearth blazed with logs of wood, casting a gentle glow as customers chatted quietly.
Outside, in the rain, Jonathon had glided from atop the Pyramid building and settled high on an apartment building across the street from The Lounge. He focused on the entrance and waited.
Veronica usually felt a sense of fear before her set.
One day Marilyn Monroe was walking down Fifth Avenue with a friend. Nobody noticed her.
She was the most famous woman in the world, and nobody noticed her.
Her friend asked her why. Her friend was confused.
"I have to switch her on," said Marilyn. "Do you want to see her? Watch."
Marilyn cocked her head to one side and delivered a smile to the street lamplight above. She smiled broadly and changed her walk and her entire demeanor. Within seconds she was surrounded by fans.
Within seconds she became a different character. The walk. The demeanor. She switched it on. Marilyn was a creation of an actress.
Veronica played several sets. Sang a few, played a few solo piano numbers. The audience always liked her.
2 a.m. arrived, and the patrons left the bar.
Mike and Veronica stayed behind for a late-night cocktail, feet up at the hearth as the embers died.
She left The Lounge with her rain hat and ankle-length cape.
Jonathon was perched on the building across the street.
She looked up.
"Jonathon, you beautiful boy!"
On the way home, in her car, she threw back her head and laughed briefly. She felt loved in The Lounge. They loved her singing.
Veronica entered her house 50 miles south of San Francisco.
She switched on the light. It had been a good night.
As she sat down she heard a sound.
She went outside. Jonathon's mew was there.
She went to the huge mew she had built for Jonathon. Jonathon was there. She opened the door and went inside.
"You are a beautiful boy."
Jonathon was perched in what could only be described as his luxury house. His feathers tawny red brown.
Veronica and Jonathon were inextricable. A falcon and his mentor are inextricable.
The alarm rang at the side of his bed, and he blearily threw out his hand from beneath his duvet to shut it off.
Richard woke up.
He was a professor in mathematics and was due to give a lecture at 10 a.m.
He threw on a T-shirt and a pair of sweatpants and slurped down a coffee.
His house was small and ramshackle, and Jonathon's mew was next door. Richard put on his leather gauntlet and walked down to the beach.
Jonathan fluttered his wings. He spread his wings and caught the wind. He hovered in the wind and landed on Richard's gauntlet.
"You are a beautiful boy," said Richard.
Jonathon flapped his wings and elevated vertically from Richard as they both looked affectionately at each other and Jonathon went with the wind and soared away into his day.
Richard enjoyed the speedy drive on the coast highway to the university. Today the sun was shining and the sea was blue and green, and he would be Veronica within a year.
Transition is beautiful.
As he drove happily down the coast road, he saw his left little fingernail hadn't been taken off. He pulled in to a sidewalk and removed Veronica's fingernail from the previous night.
He threw back his head and laughed as he accelerated down the coast road and the sun shone in the early morning.
Jonathan the falcon soared 200 feet above, following him all the way.
Richard looked up and saw his friend and smiled broadly.