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a day without rain | scene, somewhere

“no rain.”

“you’re right. it didn’t rain after all. but the sunset was beautiful anyway.”

“eh. it rains too much in this city.”

“it does?”

“yes, it does.”

“then why’d you move here?”

“well they didn’t tell me that when they offered me the job, now, did they? ‘oh, by the way, it rains 27 out of 30 days in june. storm drains overflow and water sweeps calf-high through the streets during rush hour. hope you have an umbrella!’ no, they didn’t tell me that.”

“your facetiousness is killing me.”

“that ridiculous rain almost killed me.”

“oh please. so it flooded. one day. big deal. you were in bed nursing a hangover the entire time. on the sixth floor. you didn’t so much as get the soles of your feet wet.”

“it’s so hot here. for months on end. then when it finally gets cool — wham! eighteen inches of snow.”

“eight. at the most, eight.”

“uh huh. it snowed five times last winter. add it all up, it was more than two feet.”

“okay, so it snows. it rains. it’s too hot; it’s too cold. if you hate this city so much, why don’t you move?”

“sometimes i think i might.”

“sometimes i wish you would.”

“oh yeah? what would you do if i left?”

“what wouldn’t i do if you left?”

“that’s not the point.”

“what is?”

“you have no life of your own! if i left, you’d have to find someone else to play nursemaid to or you’d fall apart and die. and then you’d decay, and, and fall apart, and turn to dust, and everyone would forget all about you. it’d be like you never lived at all. if you can call this living.”

“how much whiskey did you drink before i got here?”

“that’s my business. the whiskey is my business, and i don’t need you measuring the level in the bottle every time you come over. in fact, i don’t need you to come over so often. i can take care of myself. i don’t need you at all. i take care of myself.”

“if you call alcohol poisoning and near-death experiences taking care, sure.”

“no alcohol poisoning. what, are you calling me an alcoholic?”

“your lucidity is borderline at this point, so you’ve had probably a quarter of the bottle. once you get to half, you’re babbling out of your mind. if you make it to three quarters, you’re so gone you can’t even move. don’t you ever wonder how you wake up all nicely tucked in bed with a glass of water and two tylenol on the nightstand?”

“well thank goodness i don’t also wake up dressed in pajamas. i wouldn’t want to know how that happened.”

“thank goodness you wake up at all.”

“stop changing the subject.”

“who’s changing what subject?”

“you just hate me because you’re in love with me.”

“i don’t hate you.”

“you said you’d be glad if i left.”

“you said you’d be glad to go. i was agreeing the feeling was mutual.”

“oh, it is.”

“good.”

“that’s not what i meant. stop avoiding my questions.”

“you didn’t ask anything.”

“but you’re avoiding it anyway. s’okay. i understand. i feel that way sometimes too.”

“you’re rambling. put that glass down.”

“make me, nursemaid.”

“don’t call me that.”

“nursemaid.”

“i’m not your nurse. heaven knows you need one.”

“uh huh. you’re just mad because i found you out.”

“i don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“i discovered your little secret reason for being so nice and sweet and domestic goddessy. tell me, how long does it usually take for someone to find out what you’re up to? do you nurse them ’til you’re tired of them then send them packing to AA?”

she stared levelly at him, her silent posture a marked contrast to his whiskey-laced inability to hold still. her gaze swept him head to toe, composed, solemn, chilling. without a word she turned and walked gracefully out the door. as it slammed behind her, his legs buckled under him and he collapsed onto the sofa, bottle in hand. he cradled it to his chest, idly screwing and unscrewing the cap, trying to remember what he’d just said and why she’d left. he wondered if she’d be back in the morning.

somewhere in the distance, thunder began to rumble.

*the first line is reality. the rest is pure fiction.

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