I woke up to my phone ringing at about 5pm. I was caught in the daze between sleep and wake. Everything seemed to sway as my phone rang, muffled in my bag. I let it ring out as I came to. I looked out of the window and caught sight of the dripping grey buildings. I remembered that I was still in Seoul. I had dreamt that I was in my parent’s attic, trying on their old clothes and pretending to be different people. The rain still fell from the sky. But it was darker now. I almost couldn’t see the drops. But I could hear it clearly. Drumming away quietly in the background. I cursed the phone call for waking me as I lay and looked at the ceiling. I wondered what I was going to say to Mary. What excuse will I conjure this time to avoid going out? I thought. I looked over at my handbag on the floor. Aside from the furniture, it was the only thing there. I had done all of the cleaning the night before. There wasn’t much to do these days. I found it sadly easy to keep on top of.
Craving a cup of coffee, I got up to make myself another cup of green tea. I walked across the gleaming bare floor slowly. The pajamas seemed to slow me down and remove the sense of urgency I used to have. As I waited for the water to boil, I heard my phone ringing from my bag again. I sighed. I walked over and fished it out from the bottom of the bag.
INCOMING CALL: NICK CELL
I gasped. I hadn’t heard from him since we broke up. We had agreed not to contact one another. Well, he asked me not to contact him. He said it would be too hard. I found it awful. I didn’t see how I could cope with loss without him there to help me through it. The whole idea of it had seemed horrible.
“Hi Nick” I said, squeezing my eyes tight to hold the tears.
There was a long pause on the line. I heard him sniff in the background. He was breathing heavily.
“I miss you” he said. I heard his tears over the rain on our windowsill. I started to cry as well.
“I miss you too Nick”
“Can we, like, I mean, if you’re not busy tonight, could we maybe go for a walk in the rain?”
I smiled as I felt my heart rise up a little in my chest.
“I would love to.”
We agreed to meet at the spot where we had had one of our first dates. That was about two years ago. If I thought about it for a minute I could tell you the precise date. We just started at the subway station next to my apartment building and walked down and along the river bank. He held my hand for the first time and we talked without a break. By the time we got back to my place it was dark. We shared the only awkward moment I can remember us ever having. We were both soaked to the bone and I invited him in to dry off. He left the next morning when his clothes had dried.
I found it hard to hang up the phone. I knew that we would see each other in an hour. But stopping that voice I wanted to hear so much seemed so hard. As soon as I put the phone down, I wiped my eyes and swallowed the last of my tea. I ran into the bathroom and turned the shower on. I put on ‘OK Computer’ and turned the volume up. As I stood under the shower and felt the scorching water run over my skin, I thought about how it would feel to be in the rain with him. I remember trying to curb my excitement, assuring myself that we would probably just talk things out and move slowly. But I just wanted things to go back to how they were a couple of months ago. Before all the fighting started. As I stood in front of the mirror drying myself, I wondered if he would hold my hand.
I sat for half an hour putting my make-up on. It wasn’t something that I wanted to rush. But the time was ticking so loudly. I already knew what I was going to wear. I had known for weeks. I would wear my purple floral print dress with the low-cut. I had some black tights to go underneath and a pair of pumps. They would be better than heels in the rain. Also, something made me want to a good bit shorter than him. So that he could protect me more from the rain. I applied my mascara and put on just a touch of lipstick. I have quite red lips anyway so I never normally need much. I sprayed myself with a little perfume and put on my dress. I stepped back and looked at myself in the mirror. I felt beautiful again.
Just as I was leaving the house, I looked around at the mess that had suddenly come to be. My big handbag had been emptied and tossed to one side. Most its contents lay strewn across the laminate floor. Only the necessary items had been moved into my purse. My make-up was mixing with the unnecessary handbag contents. The clothes I had moved to find my dress hand been dumped onto the couch. My pajamas had been tossed onto the unmade bed. The cinnamon candle had dripped down into the bowl it was kept in. But the rain kept drumming in the background, fading to silence as the door closed behind me.