Lightning flashed and minutes later the rain came in one full curtain, falling straight as hair from clouds to pavement. Annise stood at the tall windows and watched the world turn from color to shades of grey, listened as the leaves on the trees in the park across the street tintinabulated with the patter of a regiment of angels’ tears.
He would never come now.
He would never come in this weather, no, the sidewalk was vacant as all who’d been out sought shelter. The cars parked along the kerb remained idle. Nothing moved through the streets.
Though it was mid-afternoon, the street lamps flickered on, set off by the dimness brought by clouds—heavy, but no heavier than Annise’s heart. The angels did not have tears enough for her disappointment.
As if to raise the stakes against her, the rain came harder and the clouds rolled in darker than before. Annise was all at once very aware of the silence of the apartment with just her in it; aside from the low hum of the refrigerator in the kitchen and the steady hiss of rain outside, there was no sound. She could not even hear her own breathing.
Or was she holding her breath?
Annise stared at the park, what she could see of it through the downpour, watched the bright pink and white flowers that lined the fences duck their heads against the weather. Much more of this and they’d lose all their petals, all their hope.
The bright sound of the buzzer cutting through the quiet jarred Annise from her thoughts.
Someone was at the door.
But it wasn’t possible; she’d been watching, hadn’t seen anyone on the pavement.
The buzzer rang again and Annise hurried to the intercom. “Yes?”
“Annise, it’s me.”
She unlatched the door.