Fools (fiction)

It's cold and the rain is falling in a misted sneeze. The leaves gather in whispering enclaves at the foothills of the gutters, and each step rakes them angrily along the pavement. Their dried bones hiss and sputter in flumes. The boot sounds bark at the sidewalk with a quick uniform cadence, carrying me with haste between the islands of sickly yellow streetlight. I remember every night that was ever like this, as though some infinitely long string is tied around my guts and is pulling me through my life, making sure that I always find myself on a dark sidewalk on a cold, rainy night in late October.

I've walked this street so many times.

The leaves are falling in butterfly cascades. They swing through the air like sticky-faced children at recess. They move backwards and forwards in lazy arcs, in and out of the cones of streetlight. Those left on the trees giggle far above me as they clap with amusement at each raindrop that beats them like a tight-skinned drum.

I close my eyes and remember.

It's cold and we laugh together as we walk. Saying nothing and everything at the breakneck pace of young would-be-lovers who only want to know more and more and more about the one they have chosen but not yet claimed. We don't look at each other while we walk. We don't hold hands. We aren't there yet. But our laughter vaults the hills and pinballs raucously down the nearly empty avenues and alleys. Far below, on Carson Street, the traffic is bright and loud and filled with reverie. We stop for a moment, and watch it. Our eyes meet. That electric spark...the one you spend the rest of your life trying to recreate... arcs like lightning and my heart begins hammering like a thousand brash timpani.

We resist.
We are friends.
We are fools.

And then we walk again. Carefully spaced so as to never accidentally touch.  We walk in the cold rainy night until we find a warm bar, with beer and darts and more laughter.

We close it. We say goodnight. She leaves for Chicago and I never see her again.

She owns the dark, cold and rainy, late October nights.

She always will.

7 comments

Anonymous said...

*sigh* What is it about October?

This is a really fine piece of writing. ~IC

Kurt said...

@IC: I think there's LSD in the smell of burning leaves.

that girl said...

I LOVE this: "She owns the dark, cold and rainy, late October nights"

love that..very nice.

Kurt said...

@thatGirl: Thanks! She totally does.

shannon said...

This is stunning. It really captures the feeling.

Hi.

Kurt said...

@Shannon: Thanks! and HI!

Char said...

lovely Kurt