Alfie drove the black Audi up the hillside curves, through the grey dawn and springtime rain, stopping under the still-burning lamps of the Alta Mira. He got out and opened the passenger door.
She stepped out onto the quiet street, hair wild from the damp, portfolio of photos under her arm, and saw her ex standing at the curb across the street. Sleepy-eyed, disheveled, he looked as if he’d just wakened from a dream.
She smiled, and that was all it took. He stepped toward her.
“I miss you.”
She retreated, eyes glancing, smile snuffed like a candle. “Don’t go there, or I’ll be lost.”
Alfie interposed himself–her guardian, her protector, her armor–“Easy, mate.”
Her footsteps echoed on the brick pathway. The ex watched as she ran up to the hotel, to her dark room, her photos, and her memories.
“Leave her be,” Alfie said as he got her camera bags out of the trunk.
“For years now, everywhere I go, all I see is the light.”
Alfie’s chestnut hair gleamed with droplets of rain. He flashed white teeth in a devil’s smile as he shouldered the bags.”I know exactly what you mean.”
The ex frowned. “Where is she going next?”
“San Francisco. Then Portland.” Alfie walked across the street to the ex and extended his hand. “We won’t see you there, will we?”
The ex looked at the offered hand, then reached out as well. Alfie’s hand was strong, broad, and warm.
“No. You won’t see me.”
“Thanks, mate.” Alfie smiled again and winked. His leather soles scraped on the asphalt as he turned and walked to the hotel.
The ex watched him go, watched him toss his car keys to the valet, watched him go inside.
The ex sighed, smelling the fresh, rain-washed air. He put his hands to his face, scrubbed away his tears, and looked around at the newborn morning.
The light was beautiful.
Product of inverse clustering, 23Apr13
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