In the rain
Dark night, empty parking lot. Devoid of all human life. A few cars though. Clustered together in several little groups randomly placed in this parking lot. It appears more of a meeting place for the cars. They come here and gather together for hours at a time. Then they leave one by one as their groups get smaller and smaller. In some cases a car is parked alone by it's self. Almost outcast from the other little groups. It is one of these lonely cars grunting in protest. Trying to stay where it is parked it stubbornly will not start. Inside this little blue sports car is a young lady. Sitting there silently looking serene and the definition of cool. One more time the car grunts and briefly starts. After a few seconds of her smiling in joy the car then quits.
Quickly the car door opens. She gets out of the vehicle and proceeds to kick the side of it. Anger wears out quickly and is replaced with pain. Through the cloud of pain she realizes she had just kicked her car several times and left a dent in it. Resignation comes over her face and she gets back into the car to keep trying to start it.
The sliding automatic doors open quickly. To almost reflect the hurry the person exiting is in. A young man exits the building carrying a bundle of flowers and a bottle of wine. Walking out to his car. His attention grabbed by the struggling car parked between him and his car. Looking at his watch he stops over to the driver side window and gently knocks on it.
Kate was so focused on getting her car to start she never noticed the guy walking up from behind. To her surprise the knock pulled her away from her battle with her car. Turning to the window she looks and sees a bundle of flowers there. She rolls down the window and the first words out are.
"Those for me?" She asks.
"Huh um.. No they are not. I just came by to see if I could help you" the man replied.
"Oh my car wont start or stay running for some reason. I guess I will have to get my dad to look at it."
"Sadly cars are not my area of expertise. I can however offer you a ride if you do not mind me stopping first someplace to drop these off."
As if to emphasize his offer the clouds above opened up and it started raining on him.
"I guess, let me lock my car first. Where are you parked?"
"I am parked over there. Tell you what though. I will go and come back so you won't have to walk in this rain anymore than necessary. Plus you can take your time to gather your things"
"Um alright. Thank you very much."
"No worries. I was once someone on the side of the road needing help. Someone helped me so now I help others"
"That's very nice. See you in a minute then"
Through the pouring rain he ran to his car. Trying to hurry so the flowers will not get ruined. He had bought them for a very special person. Reaching into his pocket he pressed a button on his key chain. The subtle click as the doors unlocked on his car. Opening the driver side door he got in swiftly and placed the flowers in the passenger seat. Then remembering he was to have a guest he picked them up and placed them in the back. Closing his door he put the keys into the car and heard the little engine start up. Smooth and easily the engine revved to life as he backed up and started towards the stranded girl. Pulling up alongside her he reached over and opened the passenger door for her.
Kate was amazed. This little red sports car looked like it was worth a lot. The door handle up on the window makes it even look more exotic. She eased herself into the leather seats and closed the door.
"You may want to strap yourself in. I tend to drive a little fast."
"Um OK your not some psycho guy who things he is racing everything?"
"No I just enjoy my little Rex and like pushing her to her limits"
"Rx7 it's a Mazda sports car. Wonderful machine. Has what is called a Rotary engine."
"Um OK. I guess if it runs and keeps me out of the rain."
She put the seat belt on. Relaxed back. The smooth backing up was quickly interrupted by the quick stop and acceleration forward. Looking over to the dashboard she was surprised to see how quickly it sped up. Gripping the seat belt and the handle she sat back worried she will end up in a wreck.
He looked over to her. Seeing her fright slowed down a little. He poured almost everything he made into his car and was proud of it. He cruised down the road going a little bit faster than the speed limit. He did try to slow down for the corners. With the rain coming down she was getting more and more frightened. He turned on the CD player. Some soft lyrics came into the air.
'I'm so tired of being here, suppressed by all my childish fears' The CD player went as a sad melody played with a woman's voice and a piano in the background.
'and if you have to leave, I wish that you would just leave, because your presence still lingers here, and it wont leave me alone'
"Who is this?" Kate asked. Relaxation showing on her face now as both the music and his slowing down had noticeably effected her.
"It is a band called Evanescence. A friend introduced me to them."
'You used to captivate me, by your resonating light, but now I'm bound by the life you left behind, your face it haunts my once pleasant dreams'
"Its nice. Also I never got your name."
"My name is Paul. Ah here is my stop. I will be back in two minutes. Will leave the car running."
Paul reached back behind the seat. Grabbed the flowers. As he was getting out his elbow bumped the CD player display and the song repeated itself. Slowly closing the door behind him he got out into the pouring rain. Walked behind the car over to the side of the road. Then went down a little further. He goes down to a fence near by and sets the flowers on the ground.
'When you'd scream I'd fight away all your fears, and I've held your hand through all these years, but you still have all of me'
Kate sat there looking through the window. A sad scene before her. A lone man kneeling in the rain at a wooden post on the side of the road. Gently he sets down the flowers and appears to be holding his head with one hand. She holds her breath for a moment as it unfolds. The sky almost like it was feeling the same thing intensified its downpour. As if to let the world know it too was weeping for this mans sorrow.
'These wounds won't seem to heal, This pain is just too real, there's just too much that time cannot erase.'
For a moment Paul lost it. The memories filled him up. He remembered standing on the side of the road after the accident. The moment of terror as he crawled out of his car. The shock and sadness that followed after he found out. He had been driving the speed limit that night while returning Sarah home. Driving along and someone who lost control of their car slammed right into him. She had not been wearing a seat belt and was tossed from the car. The thoughts that filled his head is if he would have driven faster that night instead of slowing down for her he may have not gotten into that accident. He did everything right and still lost in the end. Now he waits for when his car or ability fails him and he wrecks. Perhaps it will mean he will finally join her. A breath to fill his lungs and a whispered goodbye. Paul got up and started back to the car. He had forgotten it was raining.
'I've tried so hard to tell myself that you're gone, and though you're still with me, I've been alone all along'
The song had ended. Kate watches him slowly stand up. She can imagine what sadness he feels. She can see him visibly trying to compose himself as he walks over to the car. He opens the door and gets into the driver's seat. No question in his eyes that he had lost something great here. Kate didn't say anything as he gripped his steering wheel and revved the motor. A flick of his wrist and the car launches. She is pushed back into the seat and watches the speedometer rise quickly. From 0 to 40. The car jumps in response and almost to urge him faster as he shifts from second to third. After 10 seconds she puts her hand on his shoulder. Doing 100 on a rainy night didn't concern her. It was that this nice person who offered her a ride was OK.
Paul paused for a moment and realized he was going too fast. He slowed down quickly. Not wanting to hurt anyone else in his quest he turned to his passenger and saw compassion.
"Where is your house and I can drop you off. Sorry about driving so fast."
"How about I buy you coffee or something to drink to pay you back. This storm is coming down so hard I cannot imagine walking through it"
"All right I can do that. There is a place nearby. Let's stop there"
A strange night. Began with cars huddled together. Ended with two people who were alone getting to know each other. Both had lost. Different response with each though. Both had been a stranger on the side of the road seeking help. Both had gotten help and compassion and helped out another down the line.