the tenth

The Rain

 

He had promised to arrive at 4.

Now, standing across the street at 3:50,

His feet refuse to step closer, closer to the shack

in that house’s backyard, closer to where she is waiting.

 

The rain is falling, just like what she had predicted.

The rain drums the roofs, jingles the tree leaves,

And pats the water-proof coat she had told him to wear.

The rain, the never-ending rain, rain, rain, rain, rain.

 

Standing like a statue, like a lost but unafraid kid, he looks can see the light coming

from her shack’s window. Even with a thin fog forming on the glass,

He can see her standing beside her bed, gathering her hair into a neat, fishtail braid.

He wants to go there now, but his shoes feel weighted, lead-filled.

 

The rain damps the tips of his sleeves exposed below the coat;

The rain forms into beads at the tip of his hair.

Surrounded by the cold, his hands ball into fists in his pockets and his legs are stiff.

The rain, the never-ending rain, rain, rain, rain, rain.

 

One minute, the shack is a toy house left in the backyard.

One minute, the shack is a temple on a mountain top.

She is a young school girl playing with her doll, but after a blink,

She turns into a goddess wearing shiny robes.

 

Each raindrop is a mirror, a mirror that reflects his and her figures.

But when the raindrop splinters against the ground, the two figures don’t split.

They fuse together, fuse as one, with the rain singing as their choir.

The rain, the never-ending rain, rain, rain, rain, rain.

 

The walk across the street looks short, ten steps at most,

But he feels he is running a marathon.

He is excited to meet her without the need to hide,

But he is also nervous. His lungs gasp and his heart beats like a war drum.

 

The raindrops seem to sizzle and form into steam when landing on his exposed hand.

The splash as he steps into a puddle floods the grass the way tsunamis destroy cities.

When she opens the door, he can see water from a shower still sticking on her forehead.

The rain begins to roar as she lets him in. The rain, the never-ending rain.

 

Zhihui Zou lives in Southern California. He has published a sports novel, and his work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Short Fiction Break, Heavy Feather Review, Melbourne Culture Corner, Lanke Review, and elsewhere. Anything related to history entertains him. During weekends, he likes to play tennis with his friends.

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