The night’s darkness seem to swallow all shadow around me as I stood mute and immobile, huddled underneath the awning. Rain lashed fiercely, buffeted by winds unsure of their direction, as if daring me to come out and face it. Lightning flashed every now and then, but the thunder was hesitant. I was grateful for this, I wasn’t sure how much more shock my weak heart could take.
Drawing my jacket closer around me, I was determined not to stare at the puddles in front of me, staring instead at the hazy lights of a nearby construction site. But my eyes were equally determined to betray me that night.
I stared, I was absorbed. I lost.
There is something mesmerizing about raindrops on puddles. A calming, soothing effect that effectively shuts down all my senses until I’m left like a catatonic, staring blindly into space, hearing nothing, feeling nothing but the chaos within the mind.
The world stopped. Time itself stopped. I was distantly aware that my breathing was getting shallower and shallower the longer I stood there. My fingers were numbed, my nose colder than an old woman’s tits. But still I stood rooted on the spot, forgetting even the cigarette in my hand.
I just had to think. Think, dammit, think. Make me believe in her make-belief world.
Then it finally happened. Rough hands grabbed my nape, my reverie rudely interrupted. I could smell wine on her breath, and a bit of weed.
“Sir,” she whispered, “Wake up. Look around you. What is real, what is not? I am not, but she is. Go to her, talk to her. Let me die with your memories…”
I would’ve wept. But even my tears would’ve been imaginary.

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