An amber haze serves as a beacon in a sea of darkness. Cars pass leaving trails of crimson glow in their wake. Bodies of streetlights stand tall as their necks crane out, holding their heads over the glistening blacktop mirror. From each of these mouths, radiance pours downward, casting flickering rainfall onto golden canvas. Take a deep breath.
The sepia luminescence reduces his hands to rough sketches. Despite a clear triangulation of indentation toward the center of his palm, inconsistent shadowing renders everything abstract. Tilting his hand from side to side, he watches as definition evaporates into the night air. With too many perspectives to take into account, he loses sight of his own. Keep holding that breath.
Above, a blink of lightning manifests as an eye opening from one nightmare into another. Air tightens like a guitar string until it finally snaps in a crack of thunder. Below, trash is thrown in the wind’s shuffle. A 2-liter Pepsi bottle hums along the sidewalk’s strait while beer cans with collapsed lungs coalesce around a storm drain. Breathe out a fog over the landscape, smearing the divisions of ground, sky, and everything in between.
At the heart of such visceral beauty stands a crowded bus-stop. Some sit on a bench, either holding a child or in the arms of a parent. Others stand huddled together. The three glass walls and arched awning strengthen their grip against the night. Never had the world felt so close.
Extending his hand outside the shelter, he feels the rain dance along his fingertips. A developing puddle becomes swallowed in the mouth of his fist. There is something adolescent in his marveling of how neatly muscle and cartilage held everything together. Opening the faces of his palms towards him, he feels sullen. After two decades of sharpening, the engrained creases of his palm still appear fresh. Newborn, waiting for someone or something to…
Listen. The cascading symphony of voices performs over the rainfall’s percussion. The crinkling patter against the stop’s exterior crescendos and enters new time signatures. Conversations swell in a downhill progression, growing more tumultuous and impatient with each passing remark. “When will the bus be here?” “It should have been here a while ago.” “Will this rain ever let up?” “I’ve never seen a storm so relentless.” The glass echo chamber brings the entire ensemble to a rapturous roar. Can you hear it?
He hears nothing.
He sees her, standing outside the crystal prism, an umbrella propped from her backpack and a face dimly lit by her iPhone’s glow. The cellular spotlight transfigures her smudged eyeliner into devastating rays of ash; the perfect backdrop for the true beauty on display. Light enters and refracts within each retina, amplifying a brightness her eyes gladly welcomed. A kaleidoscope of coffee, chestnut, and kobicha swirled in the body of each iris, merging into the soul of her pupil. The clarity with which he saw her was absurd, one would have to be staring with an eyeglass to notice details with such precision. Even the blithe twirling of her headphones became magnified into the form of an invitation. But an invitation for what?
Another zig-zag of lightning across the sky interrupts my train of thought. With chest pounding, her eyes wrecked both myself and the rest of her face. This was not to say she wasn’t beautiful–believe me, she was–but a smile could hardly compete with the breathtaking allure of those two blinking worlds. Such sincerity and authenticity could not be put on. Thunder eviscerates all voices except for one.
“You do realize she’s a–” someone says and everything comes crashing down.