I can’t tell you what I was wearing, or what day it was, but it was raining. The skies greyed, and the rain falling slowly over glass. Outside a café, people were enjoying a warm coffee on a cold night, unaware of the world around them, engrossed in conversations and laptops. Ethan was getting off soon and I was there. The rhythmic thumping of the windshield wipers, ignored by me, chased the rain as I waited. Why they were moving and I was not was beyond me. I was angry with Ethan for some reason or another, or I was too busy thinking about a story I was writing, whatever it was I was too distracted by it to mind the wipers. It was 8:34 P.M. Much later than he was supposed to meet me that night. I picked my head up from my thoughts and looked past the warring water, metal and rubber. There she was.
Her hair, possibly a dark shade of brown, but it looked black that night, was half up in a bun and the other half falling out from under the hold of many bobby pins. She was short, 5’2, maybe 5’3 that was in the heels she was walking in. She had my attention. She dressed in a green and black gown; raindrops spotted her, and the puddles on the ground soaking up with the end of her dress that was dragging along with her. She was crossing the street to avoid a run-in with an unwanted pedestrian, or was running out on a bad date. As she got closer it was evident she was upset. I know that feeling.
She was half way across the road when he appeared through the front doors of the restaurant across the street. He was wearing a matching green shirt and black tie. He was much taller than her. Like me, he froze for a few seconds as he saw her crossing the street. “Alyssa!” or maybe it was “Alice!” He screamed from the top of the stairs. It was her name, I only assume because she stopped and turned at the sound of his voice. She did not say anything, turned back in my direction and continued walking away. He chased her, stopping a car and a bus full of tourists to get to her. Unconcerned about his own safety, he caught up to her. Would Ethan be that unconcerned for his life? Probably not.
They had crossed the street and grabbed the attention of not only me, but those of the café customers as well. He grabs for her wrist, I get out of my car, concerned for her safety, as does the security guard from inside and a café patron throwing her trash. She pulls away from his grip and continues walking. He calls out to her, “So what”, his hand outstretched to her “that’s it?” She turns back to him, shouting, “Yes! That is it! There is nothing! That is it. There’s nothing else!” At that he is small. His shoulders slouched, his face emotionless. She can take care of herself.
I get back in my car and the sound of the wipers beating the water and the tapping of the rain on my car filled the space. The wipers had purpose, then, making it clear for me to watch as this unfolded before me. They shouted at each other, and grab and pull, and push and stood there staring, unaware that the rain was still present. Drenched in water, the two of them standing there, he has lost all the fight in him. His face pained. A silent “Why,” escapes his lips.
She put up her hands in defense, or in surrender. She shakes her head and walks away for the final time. He stood there. He did not follow her; he stood there and watched her walk away. The cars passed him and the world moved on, but he stood there. Shocked, or heartbroken he was standing frozen in that moment. He turned and walked back to the building across the street. I was proud of her. The strength she had to walk away, the strength to continue to walk away. It was more than I ever had.
Moments later, Ethan exited the building and entered the car. “Sorry! There were still people inside after we closed.” He said as he buckled his seatbelt.
“It’s fine. I think I watched a couple break up in the rain.”