like an elastic band stretched and about to snap. There is a child, a boy, looking out of a window on the ground floor and as you watch he places a palm on the glass, small and very white. You relax slightly and raise a hand in response. Then the boy looks over his shoulder into the room beyond them and you turn and walk away. When the storm breaks the first thing you feel is relief, even though the rain makes your jeans heavy and you’ll hate peeling them off when you get home and the cold will have made your thighs red and sore. Your shirt sticks to you and water runs into your eyes and mouth, but still it is like the darkness in your chest is being washed away. You understand that things are hard now – for you, for your mother and for Him. But later you will be warm. You will go home and you will eat because that will make your mother smile. And one day she will not whisper at night and you will be able to feel fear without thinking of pomegranates. You will not have to protect yourself from numbers. Tonight, when the rain has stopped, you will get out of bed, open the window and breathe. You will think that the city is gentler and, for a day or less, it will smell like the countryside and you will be able to call it home.
The third issue of Éclat Fiction (an online short story anthology). www.eclatfiction.com