"I'm not at all unacquainted with sadness," she remarked. "You don't need to shelter me from the inevitable.

It was raining. I looked up to meet her eyes and my glasses became covered with water. The bill of her baseball cap was down to shield her face anyways. "I wouldn't try to hide the truth from you," I assured. The cold wind was blowing. Whether it was necessary or not, I felt I needed to speak loudly to be heard.

"Who said anything about truth?"

The bus was waiting, now was no time for semantics. Engine running exhaust spewing smoke. The driver was reading something. He seemed unconcerned. I was getting soaked, and my heavy duffle was digging into my side.

"I was just saying," I started, "that I'll be back this way in the summer."

"No you won't," she insisted. She spoke loudly also. I wanted to see her eyes. Get an idea of what was behind such an allegation.

"What the hell do you want?"

The gray winter had been tenderly eventful. It felt like a lifetime since I'd been home. The future was one step away. The last few months would live on perpetually the most glorious memories, fading into the warmest of dreams.
She stepped up, put her hands on my shoulders, and pulled me close. Warm steam escaped with our breath. I could feel her, alive in front of me. She leaned to my ear.

"Stay with me," she said softly, covertly serene.

That was unexpected. On an impulse I reached out for her waist, felt only the plastic slipperiness of her rain poncho. I knew she was underneath, soft and inviting. Behind the baseball cap and the rain gear was the woman I'd shared the past few months of my life with.

"Just this moment?" I asked. "Decide just like that?"

"All we have is this moment. There is no trip back this summer. The last three months are already gone. We can't keep them. There is just you and me, right now."
As usual, her thinking was going in different directions than mine. Her feet permanently planted firmly on the ground. This would be the way of it then, she would be the anchor holding the string while I soared like an enormous kite caught in the breeze of time and space.

"I want red meat," I said.


"And I'm tired of listening to Patti Smith."

"Blaspheme..." A smile grew on her face. Below the baseball cap, I knew her dark eyes were smiling too. Sparkling with the shine of victory.
Over my shoulder she signaled for the bus driver to take off. I heard the transmission kick into gear. A wave of apprehension washed through me. Then it was gone, along with the bus.

"Nothing but you, me, and the rain," she stated. "You okay with that?"

"To late now if I'm not," I chided. I turned to walk back inside the bus station. The duffle bag suddenly felt much lighter.


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