Renaissance Eyes

Disclaimer: For those of you who know me and/or have read anything on this blog before - I have not gone stark raving mad (or anything else). There has been no momentous or untoward event in my life. All of the deep questions are still left unanswered (at least by me).
I wrote this on the request of/as a response to a challenge from a friend of mine (honestly, I just think she wanted me to write something that didn't make her want to commit suicide). GP, I hope this meets with your approval.

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He ran into the cafe and walked to the counter shaking the water out of his jacket. The rain had started out of the blue, literally. A clear sky and yet, there it was, pouring cats and dogs. He murmured thanks to the powers that be that the cafe was close by. A small place, plush couches, big display window, the rain flowing down it in rivulets, a view one could stare at, or through, for hours.
The young pimple faced boy behind the counter put down his book and smiled. "Good evening, sir. What can I get for you?"
"One double shot espresso to go, please", he said watching the rain through the window.
"Sir, that's black coffee," said the boy.
"I know", he replied with a smile.
A few minutes and something that sounded like the strangling of a goat later, a styrofoam cup with a dark, steaming liquid was placed in front of him. He paid for his coffee and walked to the window. The gentle tapping of the rain against the pane lulling him into a state of peace, the steaming liquid warming his frozen bones. He touched the window with his fingertips, he could almost feel the drops falling against it. He stared at the reflection of the cafe in the pane and saw her. Sitting on the red leather couch, a book in her lap, she looked exactly like she had the last time he'd seen her. Almost a year since he'd accepted her resignation, since he'd looked into those eyes. Eyes that seemed like they'd come out of a painting by Da Vinci or Michaelangelo, from the heyday of civilization. He stared at her reflection, hoping she wouldn't see him ... hoping she would see him. Did she see him? Maybe if he walked out quickly enough, she wouldn't see him at all.
Taking a deep breath, he balled up all of his courage and turned around. All of her attention taken up by the book she didn't seem to notice a lock of her hair dropping down in front of her left eye at all. Each step toward her seemed to get harder, each requiring more of the courage he'd balled up. He closed his eyes and walked in a straight line toward the couch.
She felt somebody bump into the couch, dropping her book she turned and caught her breath as she looked up into his face. She hadn't seen him in almost a year, since she quit ... he hadn't tried to stop her then. His mouth was moving but she couldn't hear what he was saying. He cleared his throat. "Hi," he said with a smile.
"Hi! How've you been?" she said. A wide smile on her face that touched her renaissance eyes.
"I've been good. What about you?"
"Good, good. Sit down, please," she said, gesturing to the empty seat on the couch.
He bent to pick up the book she'd dropped, 'The Bridges of Madison County'. "Reading it again, huh. I read it after you told me about it. Pretty good."
"It's my favourite," she said with a sheepish smile.
"I know", he said. Realising the implications of what he had said, he blushed and cleared his throat again. "I like his job, photographer for National Geographic, imagine all of the things you could see", he said with a mischievous smile. Her laugh, with its musical lilt, resounded in his ears. Memories of how he used to try to make her laugh flooded back, with all of the wishes he made then, echoes of conversations that never happened, visions of dreams that he'd had ... if only. Now he had the chance. The chance he'd wished for, he'd hoped for, he'd dreamed of. He gazed at her, watching the dimples of her cheeks dance as she laughed.
She couldn't stop laughing. Why couldn't she stop laughing? He was looking at her with that odd smile on his face. One side of his mouth turned up, the same one he'd worn a year ago, and she couldn't stop laughing.
Afternoon gave way to twilight as they talked, of times past, of times to come, of hopes and dreams, both lost and fulfilled. They laughed and basked in the glory of each others attention. Attention each had reserved only for the other. They didn't notice the passage of time or that the rain had dwindled to light drizzle, the small drops of water blazing like sparks in the evening light.
She stopped mid sentence. He turned to look at what had caught her attention. They sat in silence looking at the perfect sunset through lace curtains of the drizzle. He turned back to look at her and saw tears streaming down her face, their path shifting around her small smile. She noticed him looking and quickly wiped away the tears. Grabbing his hand, sending an electric shock through him as she did so, she dragged him out the door.
She bent her neck to face the azure yonder above, one horizon just beginning to darken and the other crimson with the setting sun. Closing her eyes to feel the drops touching her face, she let go of his hand, still oblivious of what she had done to him, and raised her arms as though to hug the sky, the clouds and the rain. She wished to could take all of it with her, she wished for once she could feel the whole of it, the immensity of it.
Energetic steps, bordering on dancing, propelled her frame through the rain, the lyrics and rhythm of 'Raindrops are falling on my head' spurring her through it. He couldn't help smiling as he followed her lapsing from singing softly to humming the bars of the rhyme and back again. Jumping in a puddle, she beckoned him to do the same. With a grin and without a care for his leather shoes, he jumped into the puddle beside her. Peals of laughter mingled with the sound of thunder overhead.
Catching sight of a park on the opposite side of the road, she grabbed his hand and ran towards it. Letting himself be led, he ran to keep pace with her, unconcerned about the rain soaking his clothes, all of his attention focused on her. The smell of wet soil greeted them as they reached the entrance of the deserted park. He couldn't help but stare. It seemed like something out of a storybook. The manicured lawns, the rain giving the grass a translucent quality so that it seemed like perfectly cut emeralds had been sprinkled on the ground. Bushes dotted the park at regular intervals, each with a different type of flower in full bloom, daffodils and hyacinths, tulips and lilies, each vying for attention, each adding their notes to the symphony of the park, somehow holding on to their individuality while being part of the whole puzzle.
He turned to see her walking barefoot on the grass, her sandals in her hand, looking at him with those eyes, eyes he could drown in, renaissance eyes. The dimples of her cheeks deepened as she smiled at him. They walked together, she with her sandals in hand on the grass and he on the path laid out through the lawn with stone. Neither said a word, and yet neither wanted to, each content with just the others presence, the comfortable silence only broken by the sound of the rain.

The sound of the fountain crept up on them, the water gushing down the rocks, an extravagant mans attempt at bringing nature into the city. The large fountain modelled a pond with a small waterfall, complete with rocks at the edge. Settling on one of the rocks he dangled her feet in the make believe pond. Seeing that she'd settled down, he struggled with his laces of his shoes and socks, hopping about on one foot and then the other. She laughed softly at his clumsy predicament, his ears heating up in response. Settling down next to her, he cautiously dipped his feet in the water. They stared at the surface of the water, ripples spreading out from where their feet dangled meeting the ripples created by the waterfall. Her breath quickened as his hand brushed hers, goosebumps spreading up her arm.
"Do you have a coin?", she asked.
"Um, sure ....", he said as he fished out a shiny new coin from his pocket.
She took it from him and tossed it in the water. Only then did he notice that the bed of the fountain was glittering with coins, each of them telling a story, each of them a hope, a wish that may or may not have come to be.
"I wonder how many of those wishes came true," she said, staring into the pond, as though looking for the answer to her question.
He turned and looked down at her, "What did you wish for?"
She looked up at him with those deep brown eyes, her face close enough to his so that he could feel her breath on his face. Butterflies with jet engines propelling them took off in his stomach.
"I think it's about to come true", she said and closed her renaissance eyes.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice. A vivid description of the settings & surroundings. All of it seems melancholy - I was rather confused by the relatively happy ending.
-Greedy

'Smee! said...

Nicely written, as usual. But a rather steroetypical, Bollywoodish story.

Rize said...

:-) ...the description of the environment was just awesome...happy ending... had touches of ur fav words, hopes and dreams, espresso, rain...
was nice to read!

Sketcher said...

hmm... looong time since i read your blog!
I'm lying here on the floor at 3 AM trying to get some sleep and then I decide to surf around, figure out that I haven't read your blog for time as long as eternity and then warn myself before I start to read any of the posts. But then, this one caught my eye, the fact that the disclaimer was right at the top, something's different here i thought and began to read it.
Du... I was hoping to get some sleep, but you chased it all away. :(
I started off and didn't realize that i reached the end. The standard comments holds, you must have gotten used to it :)
This could be a reason for the long lost reader to return to your blog :D
Tres bien!

gypsy said...

nice.. the way you move from gloom to the sunshine.. love the descriptions.. the "renaissance eyes" :) btw, what do you think he would have wished for?