Remember When It Rained

By Kia Stacy

You look so happy when you come into the foyer that I almost can't bring myself to tell you. The glow of satisfaction and inspiration is so apparent behind your scruffy mask of downy facial hair that I hate to ruin your work. You kiss me and I hate seeing that golden sparkle in your eyes. It only takes a moment for you to look past my carefully put together outfit and see the unrest that stirs within me.

"Is everything okay?" you ask. That harmless question somehow opens the floodgate and I turn my gaze to the floor and begin to fight the tears pricking my eyes.

"I can't do it anymore," I manage to tell you. "I just can't do it. It's over."

You wait a long, agonizing moment before inquiring, "What's over?"

"Us," I say. "We're over."

I hear your breath rapidly expel from your lungs, but I can't bring myself to look at you.

"Wha…what do you mean?" you stammer.

I finally look up, but I don't allow myself to see your eyes. In hopes of keeping you away, I pace about the foyer.

"Look, we've known for awhile now that things aren't working out between us, no matter how much we want them to. We've been fighting so much lately that this time away from each other has been a reprieve."

You move toward me and tighten your long slender fingers over my shoulders.

"I know it seems that way, but when I get home…"

"Things will just get worse," I interrupt by placing my fingers over the sensual curve of your lips. I let them linger longer than is necessary, savoring the warmth of you. I make the mistake of stealing a glimpse of your dark coffee eyes and I hesitate, almost unable to go on.

"Things are too hectic for me. I can't compete."

You draw me closer, your arms caging me against your chest, and your hot breath dances in my ear when you whisper, "You don't compete. You've never had to."

I push you back, but you keep me in your embrace.

"I have to compete for every second of your time," I tell you and I hate that my voice starts to break under the oppressive weight of my tears. "I'm so tired," my tone is weary. "I just can't do it anymore."

Your thumb brushes across my cheek and I see the glistening wetness. I didn't know that I had started to cry.

"You just can't give me what I need," I attempt to sound convincing.

"I can try harder," your voice cracks too and I bite back a sob when I see the resolution behind your tears. Unable to talk, I shake my head from side to side.

"So this is it then?"

"Yeah…it is."

Somewhere, a clock begins to chime and it shakes me from my reverie. The noise of it resounds through the house in lyrical dissonance to the crashing thunder and the immeasurable tempo of the rain. Acting on their own, my shaking hands creep up to the back of my neck and unhook the clasp of the Celtic pendant you gave me for our three month anniversary. I put the necklace in your hand and close your fingers around the silver knotwork. With a trembling sigh, I stretch up on my toes and touch my lips to the stubble on your cheek.

"Good luck. I really do wish you the best."

With those words, I turn and walk out the door. I am soaked through by the time I cross the five feet between the stoop and my waiting taxi.

"Drive," I tell the cabby through my sobs and I swipe at the mixture of salty tears and sweet rain running down my face.

"Drive where?" the cabby demands and I shrink back from the coil of smoke from his expensive cigarette before slamming my hand against the sticky leather upholstery.

"Just drive!"

The engine roars to life and as the dilapidated vehicle lurches forward, I see you run into the tempest. You stop and I can see you blinking back the rain. The car picks up speed and so do you as you sprint down the long driveway.

"Elena!" you cry and I feel my heart rise into my throat. The tips of my fingers brush the cold door handle and the muscles in my legs tighten in preparation to bound from the backseat and run to you.

"Elena!" you yell again and I watch you through the rain-smeared window, but then quickly look away.

"ELENA!" I hear you scream with a vehemence and passion that I could never have fathomed.

The taxi turns the corner at the driveway and I order the driver to stop. Hidden from your eyes, I sit and listen to the puttering of the engine and the pounding of the rain.

"Should I go back?" the driver asks me. I meet his gaze in the rearview mirror and lower my tearstained face.

I ignore the white-hot pain searing through my chest and I manage to shake my head.

"No. Drive on."