This is a final-er draft of a story I wrote and shared on here a while back. Enjoy its recent revision.
Rain is such a purifying, beautiful occurrence, thinks a woman in business attire clinging to an umbrella perched just above her expensively styled hair. Oh how nature hugs you, her thoughts continue, with its love and leaves everything feeling fresh and new. She pretends not to notice a man sitting atop a box to her left who would think similarly were it not for his ever-sputtering mind. Off and on like a child playing lightning with a light switch. An oncoming car’s headlights bring her face into view. Her features bring on a different thought that flickers behind his eyes in sputtering television form, his lips shudder a rain-soaked smile.
He is with a brown-eyed woman, lying together on a beach while water laps at their toes. They giggle in unison while their hands search out each other. Before his brain steals this recurring happy image from him again, she pulls away from him, no longer giggling, “I have something I have to tell you…” When her image drifts off beyond the rain, he forgets its comforting feeling and its unnerving conclusion.
Most, like the business woman with the umbrella, divert their gaze elsewhere, anywhere else. It’s impolite to stare at the poor soul, they think to themselves. The few unable to override their inconsiderate urges misinterpret the man’s shuttering smile and unconscious muscle spasms for senility. They double their pace, as do those more polite.
Little do they know, little does he know, his awkward smiles are of a broken record memory he’s forgotten again and again. Always the same brown-eyed woman in his arms on the same beach giggling as young lovers do, but always interrupted with her pulling away and starting to tell him something. Then, like each time before, he can’t remember what he’s forgotten.
Empty thoughts of rain trickle through his once again silent mind. The poor man’s thoughts trail off like a siren disappearing into the wind with no one around to hear it before, after, or since.
He tastes metal in his mouth. Rain drips down his nose leaking onto his tongue. Little replaces the perpetual fog in his mind. And when it does, he forgets it ever happened like an easily redirected infant stuck in an old man’s body. This would depress him, if he could remember it depressing him or why he should feel that way.
The rain continues, but he no longer feels it draining down his face or pooling in every crease of his weathered clothing. Poking through a torn shoe, his big toe drowns in a puddle of rainwater rushing toward a gutter somewhere beyond his memorable surroundings. It sparks the same forgotten memory, flashing and disappearing again as if it were never there.
The rain sucks what little warmth he collects as he’s cuddling in refuse around him. Shivering is the only constant reminder of his environment, his only link between a moment ago and a moment from now. When he can, he wishes it wasn’t. When his mind allows it, he prays for something other than shivering. Then his prayer is answered in the short term.
The poor man is back with the brown-eyed woman, their toes wrestling covered in sand and cool surf, their kisses loud in his ear drowning out the sea. He tucks a lock of her hair behind her ear to kiss it. She pulls away, a look of seriousness in her eyes, “I have something I have to tell you.” His heart stops beating fearing the worst. Her brown eyes shimmer with tears in the moonlight, “I…”
The brown-eyed woman and the memory are gone again.
He searches between buckets of rain seeking anything to fill his empty mind. He looks up toward rainwater cascading off the brownstone businesses he’s crouched below. Sounds of waterfalls rushing down brick walls bring back that same memory of the giggling woman. Again, she tells him she has something important to tell him. He begins to cry but can’t remember why he’s crying; then he forgot to cry altogether.
He does not know it, but he too is grateful for the rain. How it hugs him with its love. How it hides his tears and incontinence from passersby. How it fogs his humanity from passersby.
The rain stops.
The poor man, still soaked in rain, begins to feel warm, inside and out. That same haunting memory comes back, but it’s clear, crisp, smooth flowing like the stream of rainwater at his feet.
He’s holding the beautiful giggling brown-eyed woman in his arms, the surf tickling their feet. Sand mixes with their skin; sounds of the surf blend with kisses and heavy breathing. He smiles at her as she pulls away. Her eyes show signs of seriousness, “I have something I need to tell you.” His heart sinks. The night is too perfect to end this way, he hopes to himself. Why now? Why tell me something like this on a night such as this? She leans in close, as serious as the moon is reflective in her shimmering brown eyes, “I…” His heart waits, “I love you.”
The poor man’s smile widens as his body loosens. She is the last thought he ever forgot.