This is the “after” of a story I’m slowly slowly writing right now, composed in the notes on my iPhone. Maybe tomorrow morning I’ll wake up and realize this was junk, but for now it felt good.
A few weeks later she was going home late at night. Her hometown, familiar. She took the long way to the parking lot. It was silent and the clouds covered the stars. She imagined where other people were. One boy was probably a few streets down, playing basketball or whistling in the night air. Another was holding someone else’s hand under the stars, falling in love with all the ways that girl was special. And he, he was asleep. A different time zone might as well have been a different world. But she looked up, and remembered they were all under the same night sky. It brought her a little bit of peace, knowing that. He wasn’t there beside her though. She was all alone in this crazy thing called life, just because of circumstance and the miles on a map. She wanted to bend the rules, jump through time and space and whatever was in her way. But she couldn’t. So she just sent up a prayer through the clouds that one day she would be happy. She had been standing still without knowing and the sprinklers turned on on the grass. She didn’t care. She stood there in the upside down rain and closed her eyes and breathed the air and clasped her hands tight because she wasn’t ready to let go. Maybe she’d be holding them together for a long, long time. And for a long, long time she stood there in the sprinklers. But eventually she adjusted the straps on her backpack, brushed her hair back, and walked back to her car in the glowing parking lot. She put the keys in the ignition and drove back home. Although now, she didn’t know where that was.