The rain smacked against the windshield in deafening, angry punches. I gave up trying to listen to the radio over the screeching wind and pounding on the roof, and sat in the muted isolation of the car, staring through the glass.

I was parked just across the street from the train station, but there was no visual evidence of it. The rain brought a continuous waterfall over the windows that seemed fake, like a prop guy with a hose standing just off camera. Occasionally it would be overpowered by the wind and would blow the glass clean long enough to get a glimpse of people outside covering their heads, running in all directions and wrestling with umbrellas that had been whipped inside out. Newspapers and the occasional empty water bottle flew swiftly in the air, jerked by the howling breeze. I shivered. Just the few moments it took to get from my apartment to my car had soaked me, but I was low on both gas and money so opted to turn off the engine and with it, the heat.

He would be getting off the train soon, and I distracted myself from my goosebumps by focusing on the flow of people emerging from the station. The hurricane-like weather conditions had delayed all transportation. It was hard to tell if the infrequent bursts of crowds making a bee-line to shelter were on his train, or one of the many stranded somewhere between here and the city.

I wanted to surprise him. The walk home wasn’t usually long, but today it would be a soggy half  hour at least just fighting the wind and icy, piercing rain. I thought it would be a nice girlfriend-y thing to do to just show up and whisk him home in heated comfort, and I was a nice girlfriend.

I could almost make out a wall of people being dumped out on the platform and wondered if he was among them. I wanted to make sure he could see me parked there in the murky darkness so I opened the door.  Immediately my arm on the door handle became soaked, like I had just submerged it in a tub. I stood up tentatively, the wind ripping the skin off my face. It was so severe I couldn’t open my eyes all the way and had to shield them with my hands like fake binoculars, scanning the herds of passengers running toward me. When I was sure he was not coming I sat back in the car, completely drenched, and waited.

Three trains later, I saw him coming down the steps and into the storm. I called from my perch, thrilled at my success. Every group of passengers that dispersed made me wonder if we had missed each other in the chaos, and I really wanted this to work. I wanted it to be nice. Special. I wanted him to know I was the kind of girlfriend who did stuff like this. He spotted my manic waving and ran to the car.

My hair was matted down and dripped water onto my face and shoulders. I laughed about the wind, telling him of my adventures in and out of the car, excited by my mission, accomplished.

There was a beat of silence. He stared back at me, dead eyed and unimpressed.

“I didn’t ask you to come get me,” he stated, matter of fact, like a dull thud of a sentence.

“Well, that’s what makes it a surprise, you know, like a nice thing to do” I said, a defensive tone creeping it’s way up my throat.

“I didn’t ask you to come get me.”

“Some would say this is the part where you thank me for being thoughtful” I heard my mouth say from far away, like a squeak. My stomach tightened. I hadn’t envisioned what this moment would be, but if I had, it wouldn’t have been this.

“I didn’t ask you to come get me” he said, staring ahead.28220e981a9e859fb56f35989c0e5964

We drove the remaining minutes in silence. I felt stunned, drugged, and I didn’t even feel the rain as I parked and we make our way to the building.

When we got to the lobby he held the elevator door open for me, his mood light and airy.  He looked at me with a pleasant half smile and raised eyebrows, “what’s for dinner?”

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