Now suddenly, this rain


Jamie Henderson, guest writer


It is both a blessing

and a curse

to feel everything

so deeply



There was a time when I didn’t know her. Even saying it now seems ridiculous, but it’s important that I remember that she wasn’t always a part of me. There was a time in my life when I would wake up, get dressed, start a pot of coffee, and go to work. Every morning was the same. After work I would sit in the park and watch the birds, the people, the lives all around me. . . And then I would walk home. My life was clockwork– and then it wasn’t.


I should’ve known that she was going to change my life from the moment we met, but I never bothered to think about how strange it was. It was mid-December, far too cold to walk home, and I’d gotten off work two hours later than I usually would, so I took the subway. The lights in the tunnel were dim, slightly flickering beacons guiding me toward the train. She was the only other person there when I walked in– a yellow haired young woman with a brown wool coat hiding her face.

She looked around and tapped her foot like we couldn’t move fast enough. Right about the time when she looked liable to implode, the train screeched to a halt. We both flew forward into the plexiglass divider that separated one row of seats from the other. The entire car flickered for a full two minutes before the emergency lights came on.

I rubbed my aching head as the screeching voice of the conductor came on over the loudspeaker.

“Sorry, folks. . . It would seem we’re experiencing some difficulties. . . We should be back on track within the hour.” The speaker clicked and all was silent– save for the woman. She stood up ranting, shouting things I’m not at liberty to repeat, and exclaiming that she didn’t have an hour to spare.

“I’ve got things to do!” She cried. “Come on!” I wondered what things she had to do so late in the evening, but I let it slide. “You!” She said suddenly, pointing at me like I was to blame for this unforeseen setback.

“What about me?” I asked, slightly bemused and also a little bit nervous.

“Doesn’t this upset you? Like, at all?” Her hazel eyes blazed.

What’s funny is that it didn’t upset me. I was rarely ever upset, especially since I had nothing waiting for me at home, so why not just sit in the underground for an hour?

“Not particularly, no.” I answered honestly.

“‘Not particularly,'” she scoffed. “So pretentious.”

I hated to tell her that particularly was actually a fairly common word, but I refrained, mostly because she seemed crazy enough to skin me alive if I were to cross her.

We didn’t talk for the next five minutes– I just listened to the swishing of her coat and the shuffle of her feet as she paced the length of the car.

“So where are you headed?” She asked, coming to sit down right beside me.

“Home.” I answered, because it was true and because I’d never actually been anywhere else in the city.

“It’s only nine!” She exclaimed as if I’d wounded her. “You’re really just going home?”

I immediately felt defensive– the way I lived was none of her business.

“Well it doesn’t look like either of us is going to be going anywhere for a while, so you may as well just sit down and be quiet.”

She rolled her eyes and reached into her pocket, pulling out a faded red deck of playing cards.

“Gin?” She said, holding them up so that I could see the bent edge of a joker. I sighed.

“Why not?” I conceded. She grinned and started dealing.

She told me her name was Meeka, but I had my doubts about her validity. Honestly, she was a strange, angry woman on a subway– you can’t blame me for being suspicious. I told her my name was Philip, but she insisted on calling me Phil– even though I told her I hated it. She told me she was the youngest of five daughters and said that she blames them for her turning out so odd. I told her I was an only child; she said that’s probably why I’m so odd.

I told her I wasn’t odd– she said I was delusional.

I told her she was delusional– she said she agreed.

When we started moving again, it only took us about ten minutes to reach my stop, but for some reason I wanted to keep riding. Past my apartment and her apartment and out of the country all together– I never wanted that night to end.

She followed me to the door but, before I could leave, she grabbed my arm, stuffed something into my hand, and kissed me on the cheek. I was so stunned that I almost didn’t step off, but she pushed me out the doors just as they were starting to close. As the subway pulled out of sight, I looked down to see what she’d put in my hand.

She’d given me her number. She wanted me to call her.


And then everything was different. Instead of going to the park, I’d go see Meeka. She’d take me to restaurants and stores and plays– every night it was something different, something I’d never done before. She changed the way I lived and socialized– she changed the way I thought about myself and the world and people around me. We were together for one perfect year, and even now I wonder how we could have done better.

I think of that night, my apartment filled with rage and confusion, where I yelled at her over nothing and she shattered my lamp against the wall. She’d made me feel things I’d never felt before, and maybe I didn’t know how to handle them. I still don’t know why we were fighting; all I know is that I needed to get mad. I’d never been mad before her, but then again, I’d never felt anything before her.

After the crying and the screaming, when it was just the two of us sitting in our own debris with heavy hearts and heavier minds, she turned to me.

“How did we end up here?” She asked.

I didn’t know– I still don’t — my life was perfect before she came along. I don’t know why I let her become so important to me, but I did. And I deserve every bit of the pain that I’m feeling now.

“I don’t know,” I said. “I don’t know.”

“Phil–” she said; she didn’t continue.

“You should go.” I didn’t want to say it. Of course I wanted her to stay, but I needed her to go. Meeka stayed where she was, staring at me until she realized that I was right. She kissed me, and I watched her leave for the last time. It wasn’t my fault.

She gave me her heart. She wanted me to break it.