by Tonya R. Moore

Their paths crossed on a rainy day, amidst one of those hot summer showers that come tumbling down out of the blue. 

Starving for caffeine, Salome emerged from her dark little world, long enough to brave the streets crowded with hapless day workers and tourists seeking shelter from the wet, the lightning and the thunder. 

By the time she reached Cafe Blue, the rain had stopped. The bell over the door chimed as she shook and folded her umbrella. She caught a whiff of oddly familiar cologne but it registered too late. She was already head to chest with the man stepping outside.

"Sorry, I really should--" Her gaze latched onto his.

She didn't know this man but there was something about the way stood there wordlessly perturbed, head tilted to one side that made it impossible for her to finish her sentence. 

There was something, right there on the tip of her tongue, but no never-mind. The audacious buffoon hadn't moved. He just stood there, blocking her path to that well-deserved espresso.

"Do I know you?" She demanded half exasperated, halfway mystified.

He pasted on a tightly careful smile. "No, I don't suppose you do."

He was gone, around the corner and out of sight before she connected the dots. 

She suddenly remembered with stark clarity, certain things that she'd once adored. The smell of his breath. The taste of his sweat. The heat emanating from his back. How hearing his voice used to make her feel hollowed out, nothing left inside but longing.

How many years ago was that? 

She'd already long forgotten his name, his face... that this kind of emotion had ever existed inside her at all.