I’m No Stranger To The Rain

by Miles Rost

Lacey Opheim sat under the bus stop canopy, trying her hardest to stay out of the downpour that was currently plaguing the city she lived in. Summertime was always a worrysome time for the rains, especially if they came early. On this early July afternoon, the rain was coming down in buckets and showed no signs of letting up.

It fit her mood perfectly.

She sat and looked out over the rice fields of her city, trying to make sense of all that had happened. She looked out and sighed heavily, knowing that when she arrived at work, hell was going to break loose and she was not going to be all that pleased about the results. As the editor of a foreign language newspaper, it was her responsibility to take care of errors and issues, and she had a big one run through the morning edition like a runaway freight train.

She sat under that canopy as though it were a dark cloud. She barely even noticed when a young man walked in from the rain.

“Mind if I sit here?”

She waved him in, without taking a second look at him. An awkward silence filled the air

“Looks like today it’s really coming down,” he said, leaning back and relaxing his elbows on the railing behind him.

She didn’t say anything, and just kept staring at the rice fields across the road.

The man just smirked.

I can spot bad weather. I’m good at finding shelter in a downpour. And, I can also see when someone’s got a whole lotta world on their shoulders.”

She looked up at him with a face full of ‘go away’ written all over it.

“And I’ve seen that face too many times to mention,” the man said.

Lacey saw that the man was Asian, either Japanese or Korean. She didn’t really know the difference, as she was “one of those ignorant foreigners”. She also noticed that the asian man was wearing a stetson, but otherwise was soaked through.

“You’re going to catch a cold if you don’t take care of those wet clothes,” she responded, hoping that he would leave her alone.

“Young lady, I’ve been through too many rainstorms to have to worry about my clothes. I make it a regular event to walk in a downpour.”

She turned her head back to the rain and the fields.

You’ve got a foggy feeling, you’re feeling down. If you don’t clear your head, you just may drown. In your gloominess, that is.”

“So what are you supposed to be, sir? Some sort of a rain-soaked counselor?”

The man just chuckled.

“Well, I reckon that I am merely here waiting for the bus downtown, and that you have something going on that you are just wanting to get off your chest.”

She sighed, as he hit the nail on the head.

“I made a major error. One that could get me fired. And it wasn’t even something I knew about. It was just automatic approval.”

“What was it?”

“If you saw the front page of today’s newspaper, you’d be likely to see the error.”

“You mean the headline story about how the mayor was suspected of having an illicit affair even though everyone seems to know that it was not true?”

She groaned at this.

“What if I told you that when you go into work today, you’re not going to be fired? You’re not going to be yelled at. Nothing will happen to you.”

Her head swiveled towards him quickly.

“What do you mean?”

I’m no stranger to the rains, lady. I’m a friend of thunder, lightning strikes me and I don’t get hurt.”

Lacey blinked at him, waiting for the punchline.

“Let me put it another way. The story was not in error. And just before you exit the elevator on your floor, the floor with the editors and the desk jockey journalists, you will be given a notice about a developing story about the mayor’s resignation due to accusations of sexual assault by no less than five teenage girls.”

Her mouth just dropped.

“How do you know this? How the hell do you know all of this?”

The man chuckled, as he pulled out his cell phone and smiled.

“I’m the mayor’s chief of staff. I know his secrets, and I’ve been waiting to tell them to someone.”

Lacey looked at him, and fell backwards into unconsciousness.

The news, simply, overloaded her brain.

After All

by Miles Rost

He walked down the street, small rolling suitcase following behind him like a stray puppy dog looking for an owner. He was despondent, and tired, but he had to get to his destination. So he kept on walking.

He was close to his destination, when he looked over at a bus stop. Normally, a bus stop wouldn’t inspire any sort of pause for him, but the plexiglass and metal frame, with a bench and transit computer inside, immediately shot a memory into his head, sending him backwards a moment.

His mind carried to the forefront a memory of a woman that he gave his heart to. The image of him on a cold winter’s evening, holding her from behind, overlayed his vision of the now-empty bus stop. His vision filled with the warm feelings on his face as he nestled it next to hers. He played the role that night, of the knight in armor bright, faithful and true.

He continued to look at the bus stop, and he saw the moment where things went south. The vision of himself and his beautiful young woman, having a battle of major proportions there at that bus stop. He didn’t even remember what it was about, it was so long ago. All he saw was the fight that they had, and how the tears that flowed from her eyes broke his heart even now. He knew he made a mistake, but there was nothing he could do about it.

In a moment’s blink, the bus stop returned to it’s empty state, with a bus pulling away from it and roaring down the street. In his heart, he felt the hole in his heart. It was always there, ever since that day, but there was nothing he could do to fill it. All he could do is let time heal his wounds.

He started walking again, slowly, as he approached his destination. He went to the counter, and the Korean woman asked him where he wanted to go.

“Busan,” he said. After a moment, and a swipe of his card, he received his tickets and went downstairs to the departing buses. He took up a seat on a bench near where his bus was, and he just looked around.

Twenty minutes passed by before his bus to Busan pulled in and started loading passengers. As he walked up towards the door, he took a look back at the terminal and saw a blonde-haired figure standing far back, looking at him from a distance. He tried to see if it was her, but he couldn’t see her face. After a few second and a blinking of his eyes, she was gone.

He put his suitcase under the bus and got on board. As the bus pulled away, he looked at the terminal and the city surrounding it. He sighed, knowing that his time was finished and he was moving on. He wished that he didn’t have to go. He wanted to be the one to hold her in his arms. Yet, he knew it could never happen.

He would never know if he could love anyone else again, and as he traveled in silence towards the eastern coast and a ferry that would transport him to his new home, tears started to flow down his face.