Reality seemed to flow down around him. The Canvas of his world had been painted with water-soluble paint, and now it was raining. It was beginning to rain when he left his apartment tonight; a light drizzle that had seemed to give the street in front of his building a taste of Casablanca. Now it was pouring in sheets.
From the awning over his head came a steady drip, drip, dripping falling onto the suitcase in his left hand. He looked like a poorly rendered political cartoon with the oversized case jutting painfully out from under the dry safety of the stoop into the torrent of wind and rain.
All that he owned was in that suitcase. This was what he had been reduced to, in the course of just one night. Today he’d had a job, a car, an apartment, and a life. Tonight he stood without anything, save the suitcase by his side, watching reality ‘melt’.
“Jeffrey, you silly goose, you’ll get your clothes all wet.” Amelia’s voice lilted as though the sound had come from a dulcimer, not the pale young sliver of a woman standing in the doorway, “Come inside before you catch your death or mold!”
“Of cold,” He mumbled, correcting under his breath, turning to face her, “your death of cold.”
As he staggered through the doorway, still in the daze of post-traumatic shock, the lights flickered showing the room for the rundown condemned wreck he’d assumed it would be. The rotted holes in the wooden floor gave way to a darkness that he briefly mused could swallow what little life he had left. The room smelled of too often moistened drywall from just below the faded peeling paper. The storm outside had come in to have tea, as it trickled down through the Swiss cheese roof.
Jeffrey dropped his suitcase abruptly, causing a loud thud, and raised his hands to de-speckle his glasses. After another look around, through dryer eyes, his heart sank. Nothing had changed, as he’d hoped it would. Depression began to ooze from his pores, in a sweaty enveloping film of entropic, organic decay. This was the bottom, he thought to himself.
“Welcome home Jeffrey.” She chimed, “Dontcha just love it? We can live here forever. Isn’t that just fantastical?”
He let out a deep sigh, and softly began to weep.
“Everything looks better in the light of a new day” Amelia said, mere inches from his face causing him to wake with a start. Moving back from her violation of his personal space he found himself suddenly among a pile of empty food cartons and discarded wrappers on the decades dirty floor. This did not look better to him.
“I made you some breakfast.” She announced, presenting a plate and glass from behind her back. She sat them down in front of him ignoring his bewildered look, and continued, “It was hard to find things around here to eat; it must have been a while since anyone else lived here. Things will all be different once we have time to plant a garden.”
He stared at her and then the dirty cracked plate sparsely covered in vegetation for a moment before shifting his gaze to the broken glass, a large piece missing almost halfway down one side. He looked back at her, rubbed his eyes, and blinked in disbelief.
“Rainwater. It’s very good for you. I collected it for you this morning while you were sleeping. Her smile still amazed him. He had to be with her. When she looked deep into him he had no question that she was worth more to him than all he’d left behind. He just wasn’t completely sure if this was due to anything based in fact or reason or a result of his final descent into complete insanity.
“If this is where you feel safe we’ll stay here, but you have to let me try to fix it up a bit.” Jeffrey looked around the room, lifting the unbroken edge of the glass to his lips.