Wet Stones by Eva Luna

The rain comes down with a fury I didn’t know possible. It beats on the sidewalk, the cars that pass, the tiny awning I huddle under as I wait for it to slow down. It doesn’t slow down. The puddle in front of me continues to grow, its oil coated surface almost reaching my boots now. There’s a hole developing above the toes of my left foot, and I know if I move from my hiding spot my socks will be soaked instantly. I’d duck into a shop, buy a hot drink and just watch it fall if I could; I have nowhere to be anymore, after all, no commitments to speak of, and I’ve always loved watching rain. The shops all closed hours ago though, and it’s a mile walk to get home.

A lone streetlight illuminates the tiny cobbled street, making the wet stones glow like gold. I wish I had an umbrella. I wish I didn’t have a hole in the only pair of shoes I own. I wish I had somewhere I could go that wasn’t a tiny patch of dry sidewalk under a moldy green awning in front of a storefront advertising “the BEST corned beef this SIDE of the MISSISSIPPI!” I seriously doubt that somewhere this small, hidden away on a side street a few miles from the heart of downtown Seattle could have the best anything this SIDE of the MISSISSIPPI, but they closed at 10, and it’s already coming up on two in the morning, so I have no way to find out. I’m sure there’s still a few bars open, but my fake ID was lost with my wallet and phone, and I could never pass for 21 without it.

All I have left on me is the clothes on my back and the $5 bill I found crumpled in the pocket of the jean jacket I grabbed out of her closet as I left. It does nothing to keep out the bite of wind from off the Sound, it’s already damp from the rain I wasn’t able to get out of fast enough, and even worse than any of that - it still smells like her perfume. Cinnamon Sensation, she’d hissed in my ear once, her breath hot on my skin, over pronouncing the esses. I’d shivered, and she’d giggled as she pulled away, and we’d both pretended we didn’t notice my burning cheeks.

I shiver again now, partly at the memory but mostly at the wind, pulling her jacket tighter around me and squinting up at the rain again, silently praying for it to stop. The rain doesn’t listen to my silent prayer, as rain tends not to, and continues to fall.

A car drives by, inches from my feet, and the puddle I’d been staring at jumps out of its pothole and covers my toes with murky water. It soaks through my boots, just like I knew it would, and I wiggle my toes, as if that will make any difference. I check my watch again - not my watch, her boyfriend’s watch that I’d stolen off of him one night when he got home drunk and passed out on the couch - and it reads 2:13. I’ve been standing here just over 20 minutes, the amount of time it would’ve taken me to get home if I’d just sucked it up and walked through the rain instead of hiding from it, hoping that maybe if I ignore it it’ll go away. It has not gone away. It never does.

I tighten my arms across my chest again, holding the jacket closed because the buttons had fallen off months ago and she’d never replaced them, and finally step out from under the awning, into the circle of yellow light.

When the rain touches my face, it almost feels like a kiss.

Film Diary Pt. 1 by Matt Parr

Excerpt from New York by Porter Nelson