He was late.
I was tired, but I had dutifully come to this place. Like always the meeting was someplace new, someplace remote. The sun itself had gone down hours ago leaving the stars in their orbit. I glanced up into the night sky trying to find Orion’s belt. I only knew the constellation Orion because my Ryan had pointed it out to me. His constellation. Just as I had also been his for a time. He had shown me the three stars that made up Orion’s belt, and then the others that formed his bow. Orion the great hunter. Every time I looked up into the sky to see Orion I thought of him, and wondered if he ever thought of me. Probably not. I laughed at myself getting caught in the past. Ryan had been my first, and the stars in their orbit always made me think of him. My present was not so fond a recollection, here I was waiting as usual.
He was five minutes late now.
The clouds were moving toward me in a slow progression like a dark funeral march. Flashes of light illuminated their shape from within. One… two… three… four… five… then the booming thunder. I couldn’t remember who taught me that. To see a flash of lightening and then count until the thunder clapped; the shorter the count the closer the storm. This one was taking its time moving with the unhurried pace everything seemed to have in the heat of summer. The clouds grew thicker as I felt the change in the winds from a steamy summer breeze to a cool crisp current blowing across my face. I could smell the rain. That distinct smell of fresh water on grass blew toward me with each gust of wind. I welcomed the change. Heat had never been my passion I much preferred the cold. My eyes were drawn to the lightening. Each flash had its own symmetry, some just flashes illuminating the clouds themselves, others like thin veins pulsing across a heart with each beat. I counted again, the storm was coming, it was closer now.
He was now ten minutes late.
I leaned back against my car wondering if I shouldn’t get inside. But suddenly the thought of being caught in a summer downpour appealed to me. Something about rain washing away all our sins. I couldn’t remember the last time I stood in the rain, waiting. I was always in a hurry now. Or too concerned about what the rain would do to my hair and makeup. I missed that part of me that didn’t mind getting caught in the rain. I wonder what happened to the woman I’d been. When was the moment that I had lost that innocence? Was it possible to ever gain it again? The breezes were heavier now with the scent of the rain to come. I found myself looking forward to a downpour. I raised my arms in gesture to the Gods of Rain pleading with them to give me their gifts. Not one drop fell. But the clouds continued their slow march obscuring Orion now from my sight. I could feel the storm’s movement the same way I felt my lover’s caress against my bare skin. It was as if every nerve were heightened in anticipation of its arrival.
He was now fifteen minutes late.
He always did this to me. He’d ask me to meet him somewhere remote, then make me wait for a good twenty minutes until he would arrive with no apology and no excuses. He’d give me just enough time to build up my anger, but not enough to decide to leave. Because I never left… it wasn’t in my nature to leave. I would wait on him until eternity that was the kind of hold he had over me. I couldn’t explain why. I knew it was wrong, dangerous, illicit, a little forbidden, but I didn’t care. He always made the wait worth my while. Being with him was a lot like surviving a hurricane, when it was over you weren’t really sure where you were or even who you were. I liked the passion, but it scared me too. Lately we’d been fighting more and more. Because I wanted more and more from him. He made promises I knew he’d never keep, and I made half hearted threats I might keep. Tonight he promised he’d tell me the truth. Tonight we were going to leave together, just the two of us for someplace away from the lives and the lies we were living. I could feel the end coming, one way or another. I was ready for it.
He was twenty minutes late now.
The rain began to fall in light cool drops against my skin. Not the summer down pour I had been anticipating, but enough. My mother had once told me that rain was the angels crying over humanity’s fall from grace, that each raindrop was an angel’s tear cleansing us of sin. I felt their cleansing tonight. I felt each tear from heaven cleansing me of my sins. I felt renewed. I felt new. That was when the headlights of his car shone through the darkness. He stopped beside me and rolled down his window.
“You’re late!” I said.
“No, I’m not late,” came an unfamiliar voice. “But you will be.”
I saw a flash of light from inside the car. I thought at first how strange that lightening would flash from inside the car. I began to automatically count from the flash, I got to two before the thunder clapped all around me as I fell to the ground. I could feel a burning sensation in my chest along with a sudden inability to breathe properly. The rain began to fall in earnest now, making it hard for me to tell if it was rain, or my own blood I felt warm against my chest. The lightening flashed above me followed almost immediately by the clap of thunder. A few of the clouds separated and I could see Orion’s belt. I counted the three stars of his belt but couldn’t see the bow. I lay there silently now as the water mixed with my blood and pooled around me. A part of me had gotten what I wished for, that innocence I had lost so long ago. I didn’t care about my hair or makeup, just took comfort in the gentle rain. I could really feel it washing away my sins this time, the last time. I took my last breath feeling at peace knowing I was who the angels were weeping for tonight.
Stayed tuned for chapter 1 of Angels Weeping, next Friday July 13th!
By Amanda Cherry June, 2012©