The Streetlight
Dana Quell

The orange glow of the streetlight wanders hazily through the gloom of the rainy night, filters slowly through the cold wet glass of the window overlooking the street to land softly on the darkened room, the room that has been her prison for the past twenty three hours. She stares the light down, daring it to reach her closed off heart, her broken soul, but it simply shines through the sleet-like rain, a dim ball of artificial fire thriving in the dampness of nature.

The lethargic patterns the rain traces on the window lengthen, aching reminders of that October night, nearly three months ago now, when she sat in the same room, cloaked in the same darkness watching the same rain fall, and his voice, deep and softly hypnotic, murmured through the phone to her. That October night where he revealed his most confidential thoughts, most intimate contemplations. That October night when she realised, for the first time that he was the someone she could love.

And now it is three months later, the middle of frosted January, and his voice is gone, missing with her reluctant permission, given late last night over the same phone they had built their sacred intimacy through. His words, chosen so carefully so as not to injure but stabbing through her anyway, echo through her mind and drown out the sound of the cars running through deep puddles, puddles that, last night, had been drifts of snow. She whispers the words softly, as if they would evaporate in the air as soon as they leave her lips, as if repeating them now would somehow cancel the fact that he had said them the night before, when fat flakes of snow still fell from the sky.

The ghost of her reflection in the window catches her eyes, an unoriginal mime without the make-up. She blinks her eyes rapidly three times, an attempt to catch the copy in delay, but misses for the blinking. Now that her eyes are clear, however, she thinks she has caught new paths of precipitation woven outside the glass, but upon closer inspection, instead finds that it is only the tears burning their journey down the length of her copy's face.

Her hands reach up to explore the skin of her cheekbones, to find the same dampness there that is past the ghost in the window, outside and below where the street is slick with the salty tears of the sky, where the bark of the trees is dark with heavy saturation, and where the dirty snow has already begun to melt away.

And her hands have discovered that during all this time she has been sobbing uncontrollably, calm rational thought not allowing her to see past the memories to this fact. Now she knows she has lost control, has known somehow before she even knew of his existence - for she has never met a person who has had complete control before.

But for once in her life, it doesn't matter. She has been pretending all these years to be completely in control of her emotions, but now she doesn't want to. She doesn't want to be the frozen one anymore, the one with all the practical answers and without the emotions. She just wants him to tell her everything's ok, to have his arms around her once more. She just wants these feelings of inadequacy and helplessness to go away. She doesn't want to feel like shit anymore.

She gazes out at the light, orange and dimming to darker citrus with every passing second but still there, still holding on, dying fire in a flood but still there.

And she decides, maybe she can still be there, too.