Him in the snow; winter comes early like good love, only cold, and the streets are slick with people.
Close to 7pm; been dark since 5. He parks his car in the South Loop.
Walking past State Street...
Passes her between slow falling snow...."Really, it was just a glance," she'd say later.
He goes in the store. She looks for a cab.
Bottled water, protein bar because he doesn't want dinner, wants to buy the eggs but doesn't want to carry them.
Back out into the cold.
Passing the Starbucks on the corner he sees her inside. The hurt that had started inside him that afternoon gives birth to a beautiful anarchy. Him, no longer caring about convention. Plus, there was that glance.
So he goes inside and sits down.
Her smiling: anarchy she knows. May have woken up with it that very morning. May have noticed it in him when they met each other in the snow.
He asking her name.
Her not telling.
He saying it's all for the best. We'll never see each other after tonight.
Her saying he shouldn't let whatever happened pull him from love. All you can do is believe, even when you shouldn't.
He telling her that he believed in love, but jagged pieces of it were still caught in his throat. So it hurt for him to swallow the truth of being alone.
Her mouth parting slightly.
A few moments passing.
Him getting coffee.
Her asking him if pain came to visit or had stayed too long. Every season passes.
Him smiling at something ironic buried beneath cold inches of his own personal snow.
Him trying to tell her what he lost, but the words not seeming to describe it.
Her touching his hand.
He felt like talking.
He saying that empty affairs only made life more hollow, and accentuated the brightness of the past.
Him talking in broken fragments of the year; bits of days and weeks that had tried to drown him but only left him alive, his lungs filled with the experience of water.
He sees a cab pull to the curb.
Her saying "where" without him having to say a thing.
They get in.
Her never saying her name. Him promising himself that he'd learn her name tomorrow.