the rain fell hard that night. it stung my face. i ran home through it, cold, shivering, clothing soaked through, panting hard against the weight of my coat, twice as heavy as it should have been, books banging into the small of my back, counting streetlights as i ran down one, two, three blocks home as the old man on the corner who never seemed to get off the stoop shouted to me "hey pretty lady, why the hurry?" and smiled a big toothless smile.

he didn't seem to notice the rain.

she told me he was leaving. without telling me, she told me what i already knew. she told me, said she heard it, didn't tell me what i knew she was telling me, that he had rolled over that morning and muttered lazily, his hand cupping her breast, his lips kissing her neck, his teeth biting her ear, that he was leaving and that he wouldn't be back. and she told me and i could see it in her eyes that he had been with her when he should have been with me, cupping my breast, kissing my neck, biting my ear. but he wasn't, and i lay awake, waiting for him, and when i woke up this morning and his body wasn't there, i knew, even before i knew, i knew that he was gone.

and i raced home block after block and my feet were numb and my face stung with tears and cold and i turned the corner and saw him. standing there. in the rain. he was waiting for

"i've been waiting for you," he said.

a lie. all lies, and i shouted at him and i couldn't seem him through the rain and the tears and he reached his hand out toward me.

"we should go inside," in that voice, calm and quiet as ever and the rain was slowing and i could see that he was crying too.

and i screamed and the light in the house turned on and a dog barked and a woman's face appeared at the window and i didn't care because he was leaving and he told her and she told me and it didn't matter what they thought and it didn't matter what he thought and i looked into his eyes and saw a burning and a fire and

i looked into his eyes and i saw a sadness and a calm and i opened my mouth to scream again but all that would come out was

"it wasn't her."

and it wasn't a question, though it should have been but i opened my eyes, as people sometimes do, and i rubbed them red from the rain and the tears and i looked at him, water streaming down his nose, a familiar redness in his eyes. he looked at me. i must look a fright i muttered at him, and he shook his head, the way that he always sdid, and said that i looked like a princess.

"it wasn't her," he said. i looked at him and beamed, tears melted away and a grin found itsway onto my lips as i reached towards him, hand outstretched, pulling him in towards me, close to me, into me.

"it was somebody else."

nearby, the light blinked out. the neighborhood went back to sleep. and i stood standing in the rain.

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