Rain pours for eight straight days in August. Rains out the high school football game, rains out the county fair, rains out the weekly farmers’ market. The river between the town and the city floods seven feet, nearing the all-time record from 1996. Evie loves it. She must’ve been born in a storm, wet from womb to monsoon.
“I’m a Pisces, duh,” she’d replied last time he asked her why she wants the world to drown. Other times, she said it’s because she was meant to be a mermaid or water nymph or selkie. He doesn’t think she’s ever given him a real answer.
“You’re too serious,” she tells him. Frequently. When they were a bit younger, she liked that about him. What a cool older guy, not like these obnoxious college boys. So he was stoic and sophisticated for her, and she was like sunrays through his overcast. Until she decides he’s actually boring, and he decides she’s actually immature.
But they never break up, even though they’ve both been thinking about it season after season despite moving in together and getting a cat and droughts of never touching. Except when the rainy months come, then they’re their most in love. Mason watches her watch the rain and tells her how beautiful she is; Evie takes him out dancing in it; they fuck in the backseat of her Subaru, rocking the car with the pitter-patter on the windows.
“I love you,” she chants in rhythm, like she always does during rainy-day sex. But it never feels like she’s talking to him, or just talking, rather more like she’s speaking to the water outside. He realizes he’s never taken her to the ocean. Maybe he won’t have to, if the river keeps rising.
On the ninth day when the weather subsides, Evie doesn’t love him again and Mason doesn’t want to go anywhere with her. She snaps at everything. The cat, the corner of the kitchen table, the curtain colors, Mason chewing cereal—all are stupid and ugly and rude and ugh. She keeps scratching at her skin frantically, like it’s too dry and tight, like withdrawal. Mason ponders if spraying her with the garden hose will calm her down.
After pacing the house for over an hour, finding little things to fix or change or complain about, she halts in a doorway for several minutes. “I’m gonna go take a shower,” she mutters, and storms to the bedroom. He perks his ears, listening for the turn of faucets. After nothing happens for longer than usual, he gets up to investigate.
He finds her leaning against the shower tiles, blowing cigarette smoke out the small window. She glares at him but says nothing, tapping ash down towards the open drain.
“Evie, I can’t kiss you with a cigarette.”
No response. Her eyes fix their glare to the smoke trail. Mason stares at her until he too is glowering. He reaches over and turns the shower on full blast. Freezing water jets into their faces, making Evie jump and her cigarette wobble in her fingertips. The fire drowns before she can bring the roll to her lips again.
She’s too stubborn to move away from the cold stream. Instead, she leans into it, letting it rinse her mascara and drip off her lips. The clouds outside part just enough for the morning sunlight to warm the side of Evie’s face through the window. Her right eye seems to glow in the light.
As the water’s temperature rises, so does a look of peace on Evie’s face. Her eyebrows relax as her smile blooms. Mason can’t keep from cringing as the shower turns scalding. Steam hovers off their shoulders, and the red flickers alight again at the end of Evie’s cigarette. She takes a deep inhale, but it seems like she’s breathing water not smoke.
“Mason, it’s over.” She watches the water and ash swirl down the drain.
Kylie Ayn Yockey
Kylie Ayn Yockey is a queer southern creative with a BA in Creative Writing & Literature. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Glyph Magazine, Meow Meow Pow Pow Lit, Night Music Journal, Gravitas, Ordinary Madness, Stray Branch, and Not Very Quiet. She has edited for Glyph, The Louisville Review, Ink & Voices, and is poetry editor for Blood Tree Literature.
Artwork: Sarah Ann Loreth
Model: Kirra Vevina