The rain poured as if the belly of heaven had been slit wide open. She was shivering, and yet from foot to foot she hopped, grinning like a soggy cat who should’ve known better. Ten minutes earlier we’d been strangers, and now here we were with me cradling her face as the darkening skies made her eyes shine as bright as the streetlights watching our every move. Time was grinding to a halt. The drowned souls around us with their crumbling shopping bags were sinking into the ground, and the vehicles passing on the roads found themselves stuck in a stasis that smothered them like giant globs of honey. As I looked into those eyes of hers, there came a calling, and inside my mind I saw a field illuminated by a blazing, timeless moon, and in that heady nocturnal light, there was an ocean of animals with their paws raised like the petals of God-loving flowers, praising some higher power my simple mind couldn’t decipher. The ebb and flow of their tiny animal souls produced a sweet music the likes of which I’d never heard, and even when the image faded, the music was still there, ringing in my ears like the beat of my thumping heart. Blinking away the rain, I could hear that same music sweating out of her oily skin. Taking a step forward, she stood on tiptoes raising her mouth to mine, and as I pressed my lips against hers, she moved her body so that the beat of my heart mirrored her own. At this point, the light above our heads flickered, and in turn, so did all the others that lined the length of the street. The kiss only lasted for a second, and yet at that moment, my life branched off in a direction from which there was no coming back. Much later, it seemed to me as though all of those previous years had disappeared like the raindrops as they hit the pavement under our feet. So many days lived, and yet by the time the kiss ended, the identity of our former selves felt as hazy as dreams upon waking. By the side of the road in that dumb, drowning town as the world turned regardless, our paths had entwined, and for better or worse, there would be no separating our lives no matter how near or how far we wandered from each other’s grasp. The mark had been made, and although we didn’t yet understand, in the gaze we shared as time sped up around us, it was as clear to see as the smiles that beamed from our rain-soaked faces.