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I Am Santo

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The Leaving

She’d stopped listening to him and averted her eyes so even if he tried to sway her with a practiced, knowing look, she wouldn’t see it. Her mind had finished the race and now was dormant, for she’d also stopped talking. He had, only hours before while they clung together in spent passion, known the connection that had reached across distance, probability and circumstance and collapsed their ambitions into a fledgling singularity; a rip in the fabric of their reality filled with light and heat that singed their daily lives with an indelible scar. Now it was in ruin, an open non-healing wound, a span of unstoppable will weighted below a frigid surface by expectations unrealized and wild dreams dodging capture.

The evening’s precipitation at first hung in the air, small beads trapped as if time had expired and made this moment an endless stretch of cold. They had no umbrellas, and her curled auburn hair grew slick from these exhaustive exchanges shared in the open despite the weather’s discord and their own preference for seclusion; his last words trapped as an infinite echo she couldn’t bear to acknowledge.

“But I love you,” he’d said simply, his words stripped of all cleverness and poetry, just bones served dry and brittle as the fragile truth they carried. For he did love her, and she him, but he’d loved others as had she. They were destined to love again, and that was her point. They couldn’t last in the airless vacuum of their stolen moments.

She didn’t truly react to anything he’d said leading to that final staked claim, but kept her dark eyes – eyes that held him as he drowned in her lust – downcast as more droplets died over the cracks of the brick walkway. He wondered if she would just turn now and walk away, and as he did so, she did indeed turn. His insides cracked at the center, as if his chest were hollow stone struck with steel. He winced, the pain stinging, caustic, and he knew she had to have felt the tear of his soul as she put her back to him and slowly walked out of his life.

He wanted to shout at her. For there were things that remained unsaid among these lonely drops of rain. And he wondered aloud would there be a sound if he opened his mouth? Would anyone hear the the cries issue from his broken larynx? No. The rain would drown them in their endless rhythm. He looked down, saw his wet shadow in the streetlight and stepped away.

Gone for a lifetime now instead of a year; vanished in a wordless instance that broke time, he swallowed his senses and crushed any need for hunger or reason.

The rain fell as they had: short lives engulfed in endless waters.

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