The rain started to fall slowly, lightly. More lightning lit up her face beneath her hood, and I noticed that those eyes no longer held their usual lustre. Something was wrong. The rain fell harder. I went to throw my arms around her, but she backed away. I was at a loss. I wasn’t sure what to do; my thoughts were streets behind my emotions. I reached my hand into my pocket, but she just shook her head at me. I couldn’t make out what she said, her voice drowned out by the thundering skies, and the rain was falling so hard I could barely keep my eyes open. She seemed so calm in her long black coat as she spun on her heel and walked away, leaving me standing there cold, alone, bewildered and soaked to the skin. I was lost. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know where to go. I didn’t know what to think. So I slumped down underneath one of the street lights, and sat there with the rain pounding down upon my bare head, lost in the empty expanses of my mind. Until daybreak, when the sun’s sweet rays shone through the depleted clouds, I sat underneath that street light. No ideas, no thoughts and no ideas came to me.
I finally picked myself up, ran my hand through my hair, sweeping it out of my eyes, and walked back to my car. I revved the engine and wheeled out onto Main Street, onto the highway, towards the beach and the present moment where I find myself now.
I sit here in the sand with my back against my trusty Ford, looking out onto the waves. The deep blue sea stretches out its frothing arms towards me, beckoning to me again. I realize that I was living in a dream. I was a prisoner of my own design, incarcerated in an illusion of my own making. In creating such a flawless image of Love, I had doomed myself. I had built a wall of lies to shield myself from the hideous truth: this was not Love. I was my own worst enemy. I can't even remember the web of thought I had disentangled last night - I don't care, either.
Did I even know her?
The sky gently lifts the sun from her bed beneath the horizon as the morning sky welcomes her arrival with warm tones of red and yellow.
Why did I love her?
The gulls squawk as they flap into formation, heading south for warmer seas, for new adventures and new lives.
Was it real?
The milkman’s truck races down the highway behind me, his rusty beloved Chevy late for its old, familiar routine.
What was the point of it all?
The sweet smell of the morning dew wafts down from the meadows and the fields of Old Man Pidget’s farm, mixing with the spray of the incoming tide.
What is Love?
I look down; I’m unconsciously fiddling with the little box. I had forgotten all about it. I flick it upon and closed, its contents wink at me through its velvet pillow. I get up and the Ford groans under the support I’ve asked of it. I have to lean against it for a few seconds until my balance returns to me, before I start towards the beach again. I kick off my shoes and wade out into the water in my jeans. I flick the box upon one last time, sigh and grin. The box clicks shut as I wind up and whirl it out to sea. I don’t hear its trivial splash among the deafening crashes of the tide against the rocky shore.
I walk into Mike’s a few minutes later, my jeans still dripping and smelling of sea salt. He knows better than to ask. He nods at me and smiles: “Don’t worry ‘bout it”. He knows. In all likelihood, the entire town knows. It’s not a big place. It was probably Ronnie’s fault; he can’t keep his bloody mouth shut. “One root beer float, comin’ up…” yanks me back to the present. I lean over towards the tiny Italian and grin: “Mike. I’m twenty-three for Christ’s sake; make it a shot of Bourbon.”