Alli stood under the lamplight, leaning against the bar. The Gem’s neon sign flickered. She peered out from underneath the striped, red and white awning, watching the drizzle mist and settle. The Marlboro in her hand gave off a thin line of smoke.
It wasn’t cold, but Alli sunk into her jean jacket. Parked cars sat on the empty street, their right tires leaning into the curb. The apartment buildings rose up to touch the cloudy sky. Puddles from this evening’s rain reflected the scene. The light turned from green to red.
Through the steam rising from the city gutters and manhole covers, walked Ran, along the twisted chain link fence. She raised her hand in greeting. They leaned against the wall together. Ran pulled a Newport out of a side pocket, on her black leather jacket and said, “May I bum a light off you?”
A gust almost blew the light from the Zippo out, before Alli cupped her hand around the flame and lit Ran’s cigarette.
“It’s very different from SoCal,” Ran remarked.
“There’s nowhere just like New York,” Alli said.
Ran took a deep drag, “And Xen?”
“She’s gone to open a new Katsuya in the Middle East,” Alli said.
“I sold the surf shop,” Ran admitted.
Alli looked at her. A car passed, headlights blinding them for a moment.
She looked away, “It’s good to have you here.”
Ran glanced at her and nodded.
They smoked cigarettes down to the butts and then lit another. A light went out in the apartment across the street. The damp night stood in silence, holding its breath for sunrise.
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