The loss consumed Davis.
If there were stages of grief, he felt he was at the very most bottom, standing in a hole, looking up at a sky getting farther and farther away.
Reality suddenly intruded on his circular thoughts. Someone else had left flowers. They weren’t even wilted, but the petals where sagging in the rain.
Davis added his own. They made a nice, soggy, arrangement.
Two months. Summer gone. Today it was a teacup, with a teabag of jasmine tea. The rain had filled the cup, the raindrops going plip and sending small waves of water over the rim.
She never drank jasmine tea.
At least, she never drank jasmine tea in front of him.
A winter rain. More flowers. These were bright and vivid, as if picked to dispel the ever-present grey winter gloom. A beacon of color.
He left the mistletoe next to the flowers. He could imagine holding the sprigs above her head, giving her the flowers and receiving a sweet kiss in return.
The kisses were the most cruel of daydreams.
At his apartment, Davis stared at the calendar.
I see you, he thought.
The man was tall and well-dressed in his trench coat, expensive shoes and tight-fitting black leather gloves. One of those men would would look good in a hat, only he wasn’t wearing a hat, and the rain was in his dark hair.
Davis walked to his side and stood next to him, both of them silent. They were silent for a long time.
“She always liked the rain,” the man said, staring in his cup of petals. Japanese maple petals.
“She loved Japanese maples, she did,” said Davis.
The man turned to him.
“Joshua?” David asked.
The man nodded.
Joshua. The boy who moved away. She confessed to him one day after a glass of wine in the late hours, that her first love was a boy named Josh. Her parents told her she could not follow the boy.
She was too young to be married, they said.
There would be other loves, they said.
Davis remembered the look on her face when she told him this. There were other loves all right. Other loves after a broken heart. She cried, finally, when he touched her face after she sat there staring into her empty wine glass.
Crying like Joshua. Silently.
Davis set down the very same glass, or the glass he liked to think was the same, and grabbed the man. Joshua was stiff and then it was as if he melted.
“Why? Why do we tell girls those lies? Why do we hurt them so?” Joshua whispered.
“They were just trying to hold onto something they loved. But it’s never right to lie to a girl.”
“No,” said Joshua, “it’s not.”