The In-Between

The In-Between

A Story by Iris Jayne
"

However bleak the world gets, every once in a while someone always comes out of the cruel throng to surprise you.

"

There was something magnificent with the way the cobbled-stoned pavement gleamed in the downpour, like it were melted diamonds which fell from the sky instead of the thick, heavy rain. Had she been feeling a bit less sullen, she might have appreciated it, too.


But no, because there was only the cold, the deadening water soaking her wet, freezing her to the bone and numbing her to the very soul . . . well, almost. She huddled beneath a lamp post, and the light overhead flickered, as if the meagreness of the luminescence it could give off in such weather wasn’t inconvenient enough. The alley was dark and sandwiched between two of the most prominent buildings in the city, a deceiving twin attraction that seemed to feed its innate melancholy into the narrow, unmanned path, because apparently nothing in the world is perfect, and concealed within every masterpiece is an ugly core to keep the ever-present balance.


And it seemed like there was no place more fitting than this corner for her to be at the moment, too, seeing as she shared some similarities with it"its relevance far from certain, left behind, and unceremoniously forgotten. All too soon, she thought, the end always came all too soon. She was broken and clueless on how to begin again, on where to pick the shattered pieces back up. It wasn’t fair how the others got to have companions who patted their backs and appeased their troubles with soothing--albeit repetitive--words, when she . . . she who had truly and selflessly loved, she who had spent the last three years giving all there was to give to the one person who turned out to be her biggest mistake . . . was alone and ruined in a dark, depressing alleyway.


But the seconds ticked and the world continued to live and laugh and revolve around her, and the rain continued to pour down her seated figure. She hugged her knees and did what she could to keep the cold out, her brain shutting down and her tears masking themselves in the rivulets of water enveloping her being. The lamp above continued to waver ominously, but she hardly noticed, what with her heart doing its own flickering . . . should she keep fighting? What was even there to fight for? Should she stop believing altogether, and refuse to give love a chance ever again?


She could feel her consciousness leaning more towards the latter, towards becoming a safe, cold-hearted cynic, but she couldn’t be certain. She couldn’t be certain about whether or not that would mean victory, or if that would do any good--she couldn’t be certain about anything. There was nothing but the cold. Nothing but the rain. Nothing but the damp, freezing surface of the pavement beneath her . . . .


And then quite suddenly it was no longer there, the water battering her down even more, and a figure loomed over her. She did not look up to see it, more out of the lack of drive to do so than the lack of desire to find out who her guest was, but a man stood in front of her nonetheless, an umbrella in one hand and his other shoved in his trouser pocket. He didn’t speak, he just stood there. He shielded her from the only thing that seemed to make sense to her at the moment, and she was too drained to speculate if she ought to feel mad or sad or thankful about it.


“You alright?” he finally asked quietly, not gentle enough for her to discern pity, not harsh enough to be taken as annoyance. It was surprisingly a plain question, nothing but a curious inquiry if she was alright, which, rather obviously, she was not.


She did not move. She kept her head bowed and her knees huddled, pathetically slumped in the sidewalk. “I’m not who you want,” she muttered, and she wondered if he would even hear. Or if she was actually saying these things out loud. “If I’m not who you’re expecting me to be right now, if I look up and disappoint you as I’m sure I will--will you still help me?”


And then there was nothing but the pattering of the rain, and even that seemed vague and distant in the interminable time that took him to answer.


“Give me your hand.”


That caught her off guard, she raised her head enough to catch a glimpse of him. “What?”


“Your hand . . . ,” he repeated. With at long last a proper look at this stranger, she saw something on his eyes that somehow mirrored the anguish and sorrow in her own. In one second, in one tiny, unexpected miracle, for some unfathomable reason, she suddenly felt less alone.


Slowly, she held out her hand, her fingers pale and glistening against the flickering light.


She expected him to take it, expected him to take her away, to prove her wrong and hopefully blow out the growing hatred of everything she had ever believed in.


For a moment it looked like he was going to do just that, too.


He bent down, his expression impassive, with only the slightest hint of warmness in his hazel eyes--and she wasn’t even sure if he had meant for her to see that. And then he was handing her the umbrella, his hand around hers as he clasped her fingers over the handle like a silent request.


He straightened up and looked down at her with the saddest, most beautiful of smiles, and then walked away without another word, his hands in his pockets and his shoulders slumped against the rain.


She stared at his retreating figure until he disappeared around the corner.


And although the rain poured mercilessly on and the lamp still flickered, she realized was cold no more.


© 2012 Iris Jayne



Author's Note

Iris Jayne
Not exactly delighted with the title...maybe you can help me come up with one more fitting? No? Alright then. I wrote this during one of my Law subjects--it was raining and the professor was too tedious to pay attention to. Anyway, thoughts?

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Added on July 12, 2012
Last Updated on July 21, 2012
Tags: love, rain, sad, sweet, romance, short story, oneshot

Author

Iris Jayne
Iris Jayne

Candon, Philippines



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