RainA Chapter by Rashmi
I sit at my window on this dark rainy night, watching the lightning turn the blackness into a two-second landscape of pink and white, and my thoughts turn naturally to Roger. For I had met him on a night quite like this and to this day I associate him with rainy nights, and rainy nights now evoke in me a kaleidoscope of fear, excitement and resentment.
My friends and I had snuck out of school and the rain had picked up just as we reached The Stag, a bar in the darker part of town. Giddy with laughter and our own budding sexuality, we had made a boisterous entrance, giggling and falling all over each other, and between the ages of fifteen and sixteen, we were all well below the legal drinking age.
It was a dark and dingy place and the clientele looked shady. The place scared me, and being the least adventurous of the lot, I was sitting quietly at our table while my girlfriends were having ten tequilas per hour and dancing in various degrees of vulgarity at the bar. My eyes kept returning to the man sitting in the corner right across me. In the gloom I couldn’t tell, but he was very still as he smoked and I had the feeling that he was watching me. I was scared and exhilarated at the same time, and my skin tingled, from scalp to toe.
I kept looking at him every few seconds and at last he rose and began walking in my direction and I saw that it was the infamous Roger, the one who had supposedly stabbed the last bartender in the heart because he had brought him the wrong whisky. Something about him was wrong, disturbing. His untidy hair and scraggly beard didn’t quite go with his obviously expensive silk shirt or his exquisitely tailored suit. He walked like those wild-west cowboys on television, almost in slow-motion. He had dark hair, hard grey eyes and a full maroon mouth that seemed to wear a mocking half-smile permanently.
He sat next to me and he smelled like rain and leather and cologne and cigarettes. I was breathless and flushing an idiotic red. He offered me a cigarette and I took it even though I didn’t mean to. He said, “Look at me.” His voice was gruff and steely. I looked at his eyes and I felt like I was intruding so instead I looked at his chin where a scar was emerging from his shoulder, under his shirt and my eyes followed it all the way across his throat and on to his chin. I guess I wasn’t breathing and he seemed to have been trying to light my cigarette and he said, “Breath in, sweetheart. Is this your first cigarette?” It wasn’t but I said yes even though I didn’t mean to.
He looked taciturn or maybe he understood that I wasn’t up to talking so he entertained himself by letting his eyes take a long lazy stroll all over my body as he swigged his drink. He didn’t look too happy with what he saw as I sat completely frozen, immobilized by his rather menacing look. I could not bring myself to move even when he started tracing the shoulder strap on my dress with his finger, not even when he pulled it down and kissed my collar-bone. I still remember his hot breath and the prickle of his beard on my neck.
My friends returned to the table as he pulled back and he smiled his hard smile at them. He put his right hand into his trouser pocket as we all watched him with our mouths open. He pulled out an exquisite dagger and I still remember the pattern of stars and skulls on it. My gaze was fixed on the knife as he gently slid it up my arm, hooked the strap on the tip and pulled it up. He turned to my friends and said, “So I was just asking your friend, what is her red lipstick compensating for?”
The mortification made a home in my head along with daydreams of Roger, and I spent the next couple of hours in a daze, very quiet and lost. The rain looked like it would never stop as it beat in rhythms on the windows, the same rhythm to which I was picturing Roger making love to me. Sometimes I would also picture him apologizing to me, throwing himself at my feet, but that image kind of turned me off.
It was late and we couldn’t wait for the rain to slow down so we left anyway, and stepping out the door, trying to cover my hair as best as possible, I saw Roger leaning on the boundary wall, cool and cruel, smirking and relaxed, like it was the most natural thing in the world to be lounging about in the rain. Our eyes met and he blew me a kiss.
© 2012 Rashmi
Added on May 2, 2012
Last Updated on May 2, 2012