Far behind the shores of Makapuu spun Tropical Storm Flossie, scattering rain and ocean onto Marie’s car. She took a long drag from her cigarette.
“I doubt it’s gonna be big,” she said.
“I hope it is,” I replied. “I haven’t seen a good storm in a long time.”
The storm weakened in the distance. The clouds hung low, covering our surroundings with a glowing fog. Basked in the humid heat of the enclosed car, we were alone.
“You want a drag?” she asked. “I’ll take one.” I put the cigarette to my mouth and felt the moist filter brush against my lips, bringing with it the lingering memory of her taste more than six months old. I passed the cigarette back and stared out the windshield. I wiped my lips with my finger.
“You ever look closely at the raindrops on a window?” Marie asked. She sat up and put her chin on top of the steering wheel. I glanced downward as her back arched. I quickly looked away to the passenger window and stared at the small droplets stuck in suspension, waiting for their turn to fall.
“I like watching them drop down the window,” Marie continued. “At first they’re slow. Then they get bigger and heavier as they pick up more drops. All of a sudden they’re too heavy and they fall. And then more drops show up behind them and it starts all over again.”
“Yeah,” I replied. I paused. “I remember I used to always watch this when I was a kid. I like it when the car’s moving and they slide to the side.”
“Yeah! I used to name them.” “Used to?”
Marie smiled childishly.
“OK, fine. I still do,” She pointed at a drop toward the top of the windshield. “That’s Bop.”
“Bop?” “Yeah. Bop. Like Bob and drop together. Bop.”
I chuckled, catching myself by surprise. “You’re still weird,” I said, keeping my eye on Bop.
“Shut up. Bop is starting to move.”
I stared as Bop stretched out and touched another drop below it. Inside each drop was the inverted reflection of Makapuu. I imagined Marie and I reflected on the other side, as if Makapuu stared back. There we would be: a contorted perspective of an already broken image, irrelevant and short-lived, fated to drop.
“Oh!” Marie exclaimed. Bop slid down the windshield and scattered out of sight. “Aww, poor Bop.” I reached over and knocked the windshield wiper switch. The drops disappeared. Marie looked over to me. “What’d you do that for?”
“I don’t know.”
By then, the storm had downgraded. Small shadows of sunlight peered through the cloud cover. Flossie had died somewhere out in the ocean.
We stared at each other for a moment. I thought of our past. I wanted to kiss her like before, away from the filters of cigarettes.
But, like the reflecting drops on the windshield, “us” was gone.
Ryan Osborn is studying English at University of Hawaii at Manoa. As the result of a traveling family, he’s lived in cities all over the world.
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