Probably the last one.
So rainy it could drown all of Hell.
The front two seats of my car.
We’re there in my car, my old, beat up, “older-than-your-grandpa” old car. The engine’s off but the car isn’t, and the only thing breaking this awkward silence between us is the swish swish of the windshield wipers going left, right, left, right again and again as if we’re taking sides and we can’t make up our minds.
Which is precisely what is happening.
We’re parked somewhere in the middle of L.A., and since it’s- well, since it’s L.A., despite being pretty late, there’s still a lot of hustle and bustle. That is, everywhere but here. I’ve never seen a place this empty in Los Angeles. We’re stopped in the middle of this empty parking lot in front of a closed coffee shop (the one we usually meet up at) and it seems almost as if all of L.A. is deliberately avoiding us. As if even the city, the universe knows- Tonight, we will end things.
I drum my fingers on my lap in time with the rain. Drip, drip it goes, and even before I take in a breath to speak, I know that you’re going to as well. Because we know each other like that. We both take in a breath so deep we start coughing and we end up in a mess of lungs and air and laughter, reminiscent of old days, days when all we were was laughter. But tonight is not that night, unfortunately, and if things keep up the way they are- well, we may never get to enjoy this kind of laughter ever again.
After that little episode ends, we’re reduced down to nothing but staring outside the windows on either side in order to avoid conversation for as long as possible. Ten twenty-one, my dashboard says. We can’t stay like this forever, we both know- But we can’t bring ourselves to do this because it will only take one word to set things off. We are both very aware of this fact. And we are also very aware that we are not in fact avoiding each other at all because 1. We sneak glances at each other every so often (we both aren’t stupid, although we may be acting like a pair of middle-schoolers,) and 2. We are confined to the same car, literally one foot from each other. This one unavoidable fact makes me all the more uncomfortable and yet I know- the uncomfy one is you.
Finally, I turn around. “Hey,” I kind of choke out like there’s a huge moth ball in my mouth. Ahem. Awkward. And with that three lettered word, the word we used to greet each other with in the hallways when we barely knew each other, the first word I heard when I called you at three in the morning, the word that meant literally nothing and figuratively everything to us- everything came pouring out, from complaints to confessions to questions.
Then the fatal mistake happens.
“I love you,” you say.
By this time, it was twelve-oh-four and I was exhausted and done and on the verge of tears. Oh, and I was way over curfew, but my phone was off and in the back seat and there was no way I was going to move until we figured things out. Hell, I was ready to stay the whole night.
So we’re arguing back and forth and the rain’s not letting up either, accompanying us like a war-drum to the rhythm of a (soon-to-be-ex) couple’s fight. There’s names flying, “Jane”-s and “Jessica”-s; “Daniel”-s and “Dave”-s: the yellow pages could’ve hired us for all the information we had on these people and each other and what we were doing when. Then it kind of simmers down because we’re both out of breath, and this mutual “time-out” is the thing we needed to repair ourselves as fast as we can. Then come the apologies, but we both know- it’s not enough. And it never has been, and it never will be.
It’s two hours from dawn now, and we’re both spent. The rain still hasn’t let up, and I can’t help but think about how over-romanticized the rain is. Because there’s nothing romantic about this at all. Movies lie, you know.
I’m dropping you off in front of the motel you say you’ll spend the morning at and I take one last good look at you, and then in the rearview mirror at me. How can people change so much in only six short hours? Maybe that’s why we didn’t work out. Because we’d been together for almost a year, and yet we never noticed the changes in each other except to criticize when our points of view no longer aligned.
As I drive away from where I left you, all I see is the silhouette of a broken man drenched by rain and tears and sorrow all in the span of six mere hours. And I’m so tempted to get out of the car and run to you just to tell you that you’ll be okay, that we’ll be okay, but I know that I’m no longer in a position to tell you any of that. So I drive away without looking back ever again, and this is how my last memory with you ended. With me seeing the reflection of my own brokenness in the silhouette of you that I left behind.