Rain bounced off the windows. Clouds hung low, caught in the last rays of the sun, burnt into a fluffy, coral color. Drops inched down the panes. Jeopardy was about to go into the final round. Alli and Ran sat in their usual position on the couch: Ran holding Alli and Alli leaning on her shoulder.
The show cut to commercials. Alli ducked out from under Ran’s arm and stood up, crossing the room, with her glass of rosé. She alighted by the windowsill, staring out at the pink and yellow tableau. The sky’s painting of a sunset. Alli turned the stemware with the edges of her fingers resting on the rim. The trees swayed in the spring rain. An advertisement for lawn mowers blared from the TV and Ran turned down the volume.
“What’s wrong?” Ran asked.
“I have to get over Nealy,” Alli said, still looking out the window.
Ran sat back. Her heart pounded but she said nothing.
“I’ve been carrying her around for too long,” Alli continued, looking over her shoulder.
“It’s understandable,” Ran got out.
Alli looked back out the window, at the water pooling around the storm drain, “I wonder if my seeing you is a part of that holding on.”
Ran muted the TV, “But I am here; she’s not.”
“You have me,” Ran spoke again, after a pause.
Alli turned back around, framed by glass, her silhouette framed by the window and graying sky, “Yes, but what if having you, isn’t allowing me to get over Nealy?”
Ran got up and put her empty glass in the sink, “You can’t live out your relationship with Nealy through me – we’re two different people.”
“I know that,” Alli seemed frozen at the window, wearing a green cashmere sweater, a button-up shirt and jeans, frozen in amber, “The rational mind knows – but the heart sees what it wants to see.”
Ran stop pretending to be distracted by the faucet, and faced Alli, “Should we take a break? See other people?”
Alli sunk inward a little. She looked down, but then looked up, right into Ran’s eyes, “That would be wise.”
Ran turned back to the sink, and wiped her hands on a dishtowel, “So be it.”
Alli opened her mouth to say something more but then closed it. She set the half-empty glass down on the windowsill and rose to go.
I am sorry that my motivations were so muddled, Alli thought.
Alli took her black overcoat off one of the wooden pegs in the hallway and left, walking out into the rain, toward her apartment. Ran, still inside, resumed washing the glass.
Satin Chic [Through the Mystic Mix, Dimension 11]
You Never Know [Mum Remix]
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