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CRY ME A RIVER

Something For The April Showers

By C.B. VisionsPublished 2 months ago 8 min read
5
(A.I. generated image)

There once was a man, so clever

Whose heartache seemed to last forever.

He'd sigh and he'd shiver

Then said with a switcher:

"Oh, just cry me a river, whatever."

Cry Me A River

In the efflorescent glow of the streetlights, rain danced upon the city, cloaking it in a shimmering veil. Jim hurried through the Central Park; the heavy squalls already destroyed his umbrella, so that he had thrown it into the next garbage container. Water cascaded from his thinning hair, soaking his clothes. He didn't pay it any attention, as he had already become accustomed to the chaos of the storm, just as he was used to the turmoil within.

Compared to his inner mayhem, the storm that had been hitting Big Apple for days seemed like a gentle breeze. Ever since he discovered Timothy's betrayal, it irreparably shattered the fragile trust between them. Even thinking about it felt like a sharp knife twisted in his chest. In the aftermath of this discovery and the endless fights about it, Timothy took his belongings and left their apartment to return to his parents. Both men sensed there was no chance to hold on to their relationship. Jim knew life had to go on; however, he still tried to figure out a way to actually do it.

As he trudged along the path, he collided with someone, sending them both stumbling. Somehow, he maintained his balance, avoiding to take a bath on the flooded path.

“Watch where you’re going!” a voice snapped. It sounded familiar, yet he could not place it.

Jim looked up and wanted to say something, but his words got caught in his throat. This miserable day could not possibly get any worse, that much was certain now. With his bad luck, he bumped into him, of all people. Nathanial Blackwell, his high school nemesis, the last person he ever wanted to cross paths with again, especially not on a night like this.

They stood there, rain dripping from their faces and clothes, staring at each other in disbelief.

“What are you doing here?” Jim asked, his voice laced with incredulity.

“Just taking a walk,” Nathanial shrugged, raindrops sliding down his face. “What’s it to you?”

“Never mind.” Jim shook his head and added in a murmur, “I don’t have time for this nonsense!”

Jim turned around. Consumed by the heartache of Timothy’s betrayal, he lacked the strength for further drama, especially not with his former high school bully. Some battles would have to wait. Before he could walk away, Nathanial’s hand shot out, gripped his arm.

“Wait, please.” He said, his tone softer now. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you. It’s been a rough day.”

Jim hesitated, then sighed. “Yeah, me too.”

The two men stood in silence, rain falling around them like a ceasefire in the midst of a battle. Jim could not deny the tension between them. A series of painful moments etched into his consciousness. He recalled the time Nathanial spread rumors about him being gay, tarnished his reputation with cruel words that stung long after they were spoken, and led to his coming-out. From that day on, things got worse. And the main perpetrator always had been Nathanial. Not long after Jim came out, Nathanial and his gang cornered him after class, their mocking laughter ringed in his ears as he felt the weight of their fists raining down on him, leaving bruises both physical and emotional, what increased his desire to disappear in invisibility.

After a while, Nathanial broke the silence, his voice were low and hesitant. “Do you… wanna share… my umbrella?”

“I thought you hated me.” Jim blinked, surprised by this offer.

“I don’t hate you, Jimmy.” He replied and looked away, his cheeks flushed. “I never did.”

Jim really was not expecting this and found it hard to believe, given their history. Within fractions of seconds, different retorts raced through his mind, each more brutal than the other; nothing he wanted to say, which was why he shrugged off. But there was something else, something strange. He felt something stir inside him at his words, something he could not quite name. Was it hope? Relief? Or maybe, something more?

Whatever…

Jim stepped closer, and the two men huddled together under Nathanial’s umbrella. And it felt a bit like two old friends helping each other out in this pouring weather conditions.

The low visibility caused by the rain created a barrier between them and the rest of the world. For a moment, Jim forgot about all the responsibilities that weighed him down, forgot about the past which had divided them.

“Do you mind if we walk a little?” Jim asked. His soaked clothes clung to his body and, now lacking both the rain falling on him and his movements, made him shiver.

“Not at all.” Nathanial replied.

They walked in silence for a while. The only sound was the pitter-patter of raindrops on the umbrella.

Even though it was only late afternoon and this city supposedly never sleeps, the two men appeared to be alone in Central Park. The more surprising it was that the two of them had met. And even if he had denied it at this very moment, it felt right and somehow cool. Two old enemies cooped up under an umbrella in a place deserted by people.

But then Nathanial spoke again, his voice struggled to prevail against the huricane.

“I always admired you, Jimmy, you know,” he said, his words hesitant but sincere. “Even when we were enemies.”

“Why?” Jim looked at him with a mixture of shock and surprise. His inner voice warned him, told him not to trust him, not to forget what he had already forgiven years ago. Nathanial shrugged, a small smile tugged at his lips.

“I don’t know. Maybe because you never let anybody push you around, because you always stood up for what you believed in.” He paused, studied his feet, struggled for the rights words, then looked up again and added: “You’ve been so much stronger than me.”

Jim felt a warmth spread through him at his words, a feeling he had not experienced in a long time. It felt as if a weight was lifted from Jim's shoulders, allowing him to finally breathe again.

“Thanks,” was all he could say, his voice choked with emotion.

Nathanial suddenly stopped, so that Jim actually stepped out from under the umbrella, but without getting wet. He did not notice they had moved further to the edge of the path and were standing beneath a small group of trees. The verdant canopy grabbed the rain away from them.

“Why are you taking a walk in this downpour?” Jim asked and glimpsed at his nemesis.

“Needed some fresh air.” Nathanial replied. “Can’t stand being locked up indoors for too long.”

“Yeah, I get that.” Jim nodded, pulled his soaked jacket tighter around himself. “Same. Especially after what happened lately.”

Nathanial examined him, waited for Jim to explain it on his own, but realised that he had no intention of telling him what happened to him.

The sound of rain created a soothing background, washed away the dirt on the streets, cleared the air of smog and caused two enemies to find their truce.

Nathanial gazed out into the Central Park. The torrential shower cascaded down from the heavy, low-hanging clouds, created a curtain of mist that veiled the distant trees and skyscrapers. Deep puddles from on the gravel paths, reflected the dim light of the overcast sky.

“It’s kind of aromatic, isn’t it? The rain, I mean.” Nathanial said absently, without looking at Jim.

“Aromatic? Really?” Jim raised an eyebrow.

“Yeah, I mean, you can smell the earth and the trees… it’s like nature’s releasing its own perfume.”

Jim looked at him in surprise. This was a side if him he had never experienced before and had not thought it possible. Nathanial was taller than him, his neatly trimmed beard covered his double chin. Hidden under the hood of his raincoat, glistened his short black hair. Despite the downpour soaking his jeans and hiking shoes, his demeanor sent out confidence and strength. For just a moment, Jim dreamed of what it would be like to find consolation in his arms, but immediately forced himself back to reality. Maybe with everyone else, but not with him, never ever, or maybe yes?

“I never thought of it that way.” Jim admitted. “So, uh, how’ve you been, Nathanial?”

“Hanging in there, I guess. Same old, same old. And you?”

“Don’t ask.”

Nathanial looked away from the rainy landscape and studied Jim’s face. He was in kinda pain, so much he could define and also that Jim was holding back, clearly not trusting him, which, in consideration of his actions, he could not blame him.

“Look, Jimmy…” Nathanial struggled to find the words. “About all that stuff back then…”

Jim raised a hand, stopped him. “It’s water under the bridge, Nathanial. We were stupid kids.”

“Yeah, stupid kids.” Nathanial smiled gratefully. Both men exchanged a shy smile. “You know, despite the rain, this is actually quite nice.”

“Yeah.” And to his own disbelief, Jim had to admit that he actually was enjoying it a bit. Maybe people could change after all. “Let’s leave. Can’t need a cold and I will catch one when I don’t get out of this soaked everything.”

“Alright. We can’t let that happen, can’t we?”

The two men walked toward the entrance, the rain still pouring, but somehow it felt lighter suddenly, as if a weight had been lifted from their shoulders. The distance, that their youth created, beween them, shrienked with every step. As they reached the end of the Central Park, Jim realized that maybe, just maybe, losing his umbrella had been the best thing that ever happened to him.

“Hey,” Nathanial said suddenly, breaking the silence. “Do you wanna grab a coffee or something later on? My treat.”

Jim looked at him, surprised by the offer. But then he smiled a genuine smile that lit up his wet face.

“I’d like that,” he said, his voice soft but sure. “I’d like that a lot.”

“Let’s say in two hours at the Cafe Sabarsky?” Nathanial suggested. “That should give us some time to change our soaked clothes.”

“Alright. I’ll be there. See you then!” Jim answered and stepped out from under the umbrella and rushed over to the subway station. Even though he no longer looked around, he had a hunch his former nemesis watching him and this time it did not feel bad at all.

Cry me a river,” Jim whispered to himself, while he walked down the stairs. A single tear mingled with the rain on his cheek. “But maybe, just maybe, I’ve found something worth holding onto.”

Short StoryLove
5

About the Creator

C.B. Visions

An author, who writes tales of human encounters with nature and wildlife. I dive into the depths of the human psyche, offering an insights into our connection with the world around us, inviting us on a journeys. (Christian Bass)

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Comments (3)

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  • Melissa Ingoldsby2 months ago

    Technically and emotionally you got each depth of emotion and description spot on

  • Ameer Bibi2 months ago

    This is one of the amazing well written poem , brilliant effort

  • Oneg In The Arctic2 months ago

    OH THIS IS BRILLIANTLY DONE! From start to end, you wrote this just spectacularly! The pacing, the transitions, the emotion, the tone, the setting- everything! Wow. Like this is one of the best wholesomely put together stories I’ve read on here in a long time. And I’m not just saying that. I’m serious. As a piece of writing- flawless Also bonus points for all the prompts words 🤣

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