So this is April, Rory thought, as a sticky sweet wind swept past her causing the nearby blossom laden branch to creak. The sound made her smile. It was nice to hear something other than the slap of her Keds against the concrete sidewalk as Rory made her way to the clearing. Genius, she thought to herself as a low rumble of thunder added its voice to the night. The building storm clouds off to the west had kicked the barometer so high that unshed droplets of dew clung to Rory like a cloying perfume when she paused at each street crossing.

The second her feet hit grass Rory felt it. The strength of solid mother terra beneath her always caused a near instantaneous release. As if the stress of the last few weeks could be sloughed off. What a perfect analogy, she thought, if only Rory could slip her protective layer of dead emotion like a snake from its skin. That naive thought, however, was overly hopeful, and suggested that beneath the pain she was whole and refreshed. Rory knew the truth was much more likely that if she let her protective shell fall away it would only leave her feeling raw and vulnerable.

In the clearing Rory stepped out of her shoes, spread her arms wide, and threw her head back. The light of the full moon filled her eyes, but Rory dared not blink. Somewhere out there is the answer, she told herself as she searched the cosmos. No star shot across the sky in true omen fashion nor did universal understanding wash over her. All Rory felt, before the rain started, was the gentle kiss of darkness against her bare arms and outstretched fingers, but as she stood there in the soaking rain it happened, so organically that she never even registered a conscious thought. The lump in her throat she couldn’t swallow, the hardness in her heart that pained so deep, the jagged shard of her soul that refused to fit flat left in one searing tear that was lost to the falling rain. Rory let the downpour scour her clean as the realization dawned on her; it wasn’t the loss of you that hurt so bad it was loosing the piece of herself that couldn’t be without you which stung.

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