“Jonathan’s a bastard.”
Beatrice smiled sweetly. Solomon looked sideways at her through the fingers of his right hand. How pretty she looked, wearing her black wool coat and black wool hat that covered her thin yellow hairs, sipping black coffee in the dim lighting, carefully and painfully, he thought. They were sitting together by the window of some coffee shop somewhere where the light seemed gloomiest, as the night had a tendency to creep in through the windows and steal the light away.
“What made you decided to treat me to coffee all of a sudden?” she spoke.
Solomon considered an answer. “We hadn’t seen each other for so long,” he said simply. He remembered just a few minutes ago he had seen her looking around, lost on the shimmering, wet streets, with a black eye and no sense to go indoors.
“I’m sorry, I don’t have any money.”
“What are you being sorry for?” Solomon frowned, putting his hand back down on the table.
Beatrice smiled shyly and cast down her bruised eyes. “Nothing,” she whispered politely.
Solomon watched as a fleet of cars passed by outside, very fast, stirring up the huge puddles on the road that had grown steadily in size during the afternoon. He thought for a moment that they must be going somewhere very important to be traveling so fast at night.
“How long has it been, anyways?” Beatrice asked, somewhat to herself.
“What do you mean? We were at Antony’s two weeks–three weeks ago, weren’t we?”
“No, no. I mean, since I got married.”
Solomon had to think. He really couldn’t remember anymore.
“What. Six years now, wasn’t it?”
“Really?” Beatrice gave a little laugh. “It’s been that long already?”
Ha ha ha. Solomon couldn’t figure out what she was laughing for.
The rain was beginning to fall again, softly, first a few drops appearing suddenly, stretched against the windows, then a bit more. Solomon instinctively turned to look at them, searching for patterns in where they fell.
“Hey, what about your marriage, then?” Beatrice seemed cheerful all of a sudden. “You getting along with Ophie still?”
“Nah.” Solomon frowned and shook his head. “I thought I told you. We got divorced.”
She mumbled, “Oh….I’m sorry,…”
“You have no right to be,” Solomon replied sharply. Beatrice shrank a bit in her chair. She took a sip of her black coffee and visibly relaxed.
Solomon suddenly looked very tired. “Then, you remember when I went away for a while? That was when my mom passed away.” The lines on his forehead stood out prominently in the dim light and gave him the appearance of a man many years older that he was. Only the darkness of his black hair gave any indication towards his true age. He ran his hand through it now, quickly, chasing the light reflected in it in ripples towards his spine.
“Well, it’s not like your own marriage is doing well,” he finally said.
Beatrice squealed, “What do you mean?”
“I mean, who gave you that black eye?” Solomon stared straight at her. She touched her eyelid self-consciously with the tips of her fingers and quickly looked down into her cup.
“I fell….on the stairs, this morning. I was really tired….and clumsy.”
“Hmph.” Solomon let it go, decided to stare out the windows instead. He finished his own coffee in a single gulp, grimacing slightly at the taste of cardboard in the dredges, and put the cup back down violently on the table.
“Like,” Beatrice continued nervously, “it’s not too bad, or anything like that. I’m okay, really.”
Solomon would not look at her. He thought back to what he had said to her six years ago. “Be careful,” wasn’t it? Something like that.
Beatrice spoke carefully, “Hey, you’re not mad at me, are you?”
“Why the heck would I be mad at you?”
Beatrice shrank again. She seemed to him now like a child in an oversized wool coat that had been borrowed, perhaps, from her mother. She lifted her coffee cup with both tiny hands grasping it tightly, and bent down her head so that her tiny lips just met the lips of the cup. Solomon sighed deeply. He took one large hand and brushed it through his hair again in exasperation. He let his hand fall from the back of his head back onto the table, making a sharp knocking sound on the wood where the knuckles hit. Beatrice jumped a little in her chair and it annoyed him even more. He leaned back on his chair, against his black raincoat, completely dry now from the warmth of being inside the coffee shop, and stared at the rain outside, coming down in sheets around them.
“Hey, you remember when we used to go out?”
Solomon blinked at her question. Of course he remembered.
“Used to? Aren’t we ‘out’ now?”
“No, no,” she shook her head lightly. “Like, when we were in love?” Her blackened eyes were wide and staring in anticipation. Solomon purposely shifted his chair almost away from her.
“What are you saying, Beatrice?” he said.
“What–, I was just thinking, you know, like, just remembering. Those were fun days, I think.”
Solomon sighed and turned away to peer deeper into the rain. He stared at it, at the veins it created on the windows, still searching for something, an area that received more rain than elsewhere, or an order to where the drops fell on the glass.
He was searching in vain. There may be no pattern at all, no order at all, only Fate. That would be enough for him, he decided. He sighed again, heavily and painfully.
“You can still come talk to me any time, if that’s what you’re getting at,” he finally said. Beatrice laughed nervously.
He wouldn’t, didn’t want to, was afraid of turning around to face her again. Maybe later, maybe,…or another day, perhaps, he would.