The rain poured through the heavy air, spilling over the otherwise silent roadway. Dripping onto the filmy asphalt at my feet, the water streamed between the microscopic peaks scraping at my shoes. I thought I could have found a squeaky swing and listened forever.
But the clouds above me were on the move. And so was I.
The whole damn trip seemed to be uphill; I could feel it in my thighs. But the ridge floated over a sea of meandering streetlights. I'd have bet on a foggy night, it could be pretty spectacular. The day after tomorrow, my thighs would thank me anyway, if I recovered by then.
I felt like a creep walking around in an unfamiliar neighborhood, hunched over, passing in and out of the light on the sidewalk. But eventually I came to the end of the row. Five bold scripted numbers glared at me from a foreboding but quaint little porch.
I tried to shake a little water off myself, maybe be a little less pathetic, and then I took a breath or two. Or three. I knocked, probably more feebly than I should have. But this was unfamiliar territory.
I waited, eyes at my sopping feet. And waited. I didn't walk this far to be ignored, that's for sure.
A warm dry ray of incandescent light fell onto my face and I could only blink. The sunny aura made the shadows of the porch a subtle deep blue and silhouetted a lanky form before me.
After a stunned pause, it whispered, “What are you doing? You can't be here.”
“If I couldn't, I wouldn't” I raised my eyebrows to her.
“Where's your car?” She ignored my self-proclaimed wit, peering over my shoulder.
“I get it back Monday; it's in the shop.” I conceded.
She stared at me, taken aback by the statement for a moment or two. I just waited for it to pass.
She sighed. Again, I let it pass.
I watched her innocently as she grabbed her keys from the little table in the foyer, and clicked the door shut behind her with a little bow to the side. She scrunched her face as if it helped muffle the noise. Without a word, or even an acknowledgment of my presence, she climbed into her car and started the engine. That was my cue, I guess. I watched her check her mirrors as I trod down the driveway, around the new four-door, and slid into the passenger seat. The pristine leather made me conscious of the rain.
“What happened to your little green escort?”
She shook her head. Like it was a taboo subject when it passed away or something.
Turn right, ahead. The built-in GPS gloated.
She clicked it off quickly. Goodbye.
We both stared forward, looking out of our respective windows from the corners of our respective eyes. Only the wipers spoke, singing their rhythmic chant.
The whole town swimming past our bubble-on-wheels seemed more like it was passing between us than around us. Words began to spin around in my head. They were there, as they should have been on the porch, but nothing ever came out. The air pressure fought against them.
It might have been better if she hadn't answered the door. At least then, I'd have thought I still had intention. But I couldn't even look to her to address her. Now, I just let the little blinking colon on the dashboard count the seconds as they flew out the windows. And I let it keep happening.
“Do you remember that night in the parking lot? Overlooking the other side of the valley and we watched the fireworks over the river?”
I nodded emphatically, wishing for those simpler times.
“And you remember, we sat there, all night? We did absolutely nothing.”
I missed that.
“And that was it. We did absolutely nothing. Every conversation we started fell flat on its face.”
I nodded less emphatically.
And then we were back to it. Silence. But not the kind you could revel in for hours or eternity or anything. It was the kind you wanted to walk away from, start over and fill up with something less important.