A Message in Raindrops
It was the sadness that drove him onward through the rain, that anguish that gnawed on his insides like a ravaged beast to a bone. The pain stabbed at him as the rain stabbed at the pavement. V had been up on the roofs before but even the very blackened heavens couldn’t hope to change things. It wasn’t getting any better and neither was the weather; he now took to the streets instead. He wasn’t sure what caused it, it was neither anger nor virulence of some injustice that caused him to walk about London like this — it simply existed, settling in the marrow of his bones, infecting every cell and neuron in his body. If he wanted to escape his skin, there certainly was a way for that. But the fires of a frustrating nature raged on the inside this time. He would not be burned to death, he would drown.
V stepped carefully along alleys and quiet streets, through darkness and rain. He willed his mind to focus on the chill the wind brought to his soddened clothes and ever vigilant to his wanderlust hat, snatching it whenever he felt it would be swiftly carried off. He rounded a corner when he heard a voice through the downpour.
Despite the noise of the rain upon the pavement and the roaring of the wind, the sound was as clear as a pristine bell on Sunday morning and he had no choice, he felt, but to turn — turn towards that goodness that ever overpowered any and all negativity in his heart. He wasn’t surprised to see her standing there, her blue jacket clinging to her skin from the rain, her shaved head stark but familiar in the gloom. She didn’t hesitate, she ran to him. That simple act stunned him. Not because he had seen it once in the Underground as they had stood next to the train that would be his casket, but for the fact that someone needed him that much that they, themselves, would risk the angry weather to go out chasing shadows — and very much expecting to find one, moved him. She was always a good finder.
“Why are you out here in this storm,” she asked as she fought to catch her breath. “I had been worried sick about you.”
V had never felt any compulsion to worry, except about one person … and he didn’t feel such a thing would be reciprocated in kind; another surprise that it was. He blinked at her, ever puzzled by her want to worry for him. An apology felt strangely insignificant. He lowered his head, not able to find the words. Before he could, she suddenly wrapped her arms around him in an embrace despite the cold wetness of the rain. He was more shocked by her action than the cutting chill of wet clothes. He felt her squeeze him and his reluctant arms reached up to lightly wrap around her, too.
“I’ve missed you,” she said. Her voice was thick with emotion and he knew that it wasn’t just rain drops that slid down her face. Those words broke him at last and he finally tightened his grip around her small frame. His tone was low as he murmured his response.
“I’ve missed you, too.”
“Then why did you leave?” She wouldn’t drop the subject, she had to know, she had to fix it. He admired her about that. To leave things unfixed, to leave things as they were was dangerous when a problem was clearly known — and mental issues had a bad habit of lingering.
“I don’t know,” he said truthfully, knowing well that she wouldn’t believe him. And she didn’t. She spoke more but he hushed her with a gloved finger to her lips. Her eyes, ever searching and pleading into his own, were pregnant with unanswered questions.
“I assure you, I’m quite alright, sweet Eve,” he said gently above the rain. To him, he was very truthful.
Sometimes, he just needed to try and escape himself and in other regards, he needed someone just as crazy as he was to risk traipsing about in a storm for each other. What bothered him, he knew, would go away in time — it always did, even if he couldn’t explain it or put words to it.
“I don’t want you to go,” she suddenly said, her grip tightening around him. “Please come home with me.”
The words pained him deeply, knowing that he couldn’t. V wanted nothing more than to settle on the couch with her, hold her and touch her and pretend that they had a normal relationship but he’d be lying to himself if he did. V slowly slipped from Evey’s grip like nightly shadows from the dawn. Taking a step back, he slowly shook his head.
Without another word or another glance, he turned his back on her and walked away.
“God loves you, too,” she shouted after him. “He loves us both, why can’t you see that?”
Her words stopped him to his very core and he felt that deep anguish again. V lowered his head slightly. He didn’t move. He didn’t have to for he heard the soft sounds of her footfalls behind him. Her touch on his arm was kind and gentle as she stepped in front of him again, peering up into his face with sad eyes.
“What has you trying to escape your own shadow? What has you so miserable?”
She reached up, rain droplets dripping from her fingertips as she pressed her palm against the cool, wet cheek of the mask. An inward sigh passed from him and he leaned against her touch. They both knew her questions were rhetorical, she was simply wondering aloud the root of his current distress.
“You feel that you seem so unforgivable … but that’s not true. When other people look into your eyes they see darkness, destruction, and death. When I look there, I discern a vivacious and virtuous verve. I see joy. I also see justice and a great vehemence against the villains of the world. But more than that, I see Truth … and love of the richest and deepest kind that is ever unending.”
Scarred lips pulled in a warm smile to hear her speak, especially at the alliteration of their most favorite letter of the alphabet. Her words struck to his very soul and each one promised revival and rejuvenation, an ending to the blood that constantly dripped from old and, sometimes, self-afflicted wounds. He drew in a breath, filling himself with more than just oxygen but the peace that she easily instilled in him. The raging of the storm had passed both from within and without. But a great sadness continued to smother him and he knew she knew it. There was only so much that could be done. The rest, he had to live with.
“Tears are words that need to be written,” he quoted softly.
Evey nodded. He felt her take his hands and raised them to her lips. She kissed them softly, full of veneration and understanding.
“It always is harder to be left behind,” she quoted somberly in kind, “than to be the one to go…”
A slow, sad smile pulled at his lips. He sifted a hand from hers to press a gloved palm to her cheek. She closed her eyes and both soaked in the faintest warmth of the others’ touch – a tiny glimpse of light in a world of darkness, and it brought such hope and joy that threatened to burst free. The rain mingled with her tears again and she sniffled.
“I just want you to be ok,” she said softly. “It saddens me greatly when you pull away like some wounded creature going off to die.”
“It is a stage where every man must play his part. And mine is a sad one,”he murmured gently.
Black eyes stared into brown, a smile to a frown, fiberglass to flesh … They could’ve stayed like that for always, content to let the rain fall all around them, pattering against the brim of his hat, dripping down her face and fingers all the while they stared into each other’s souls. It was here in this moment that they both were on the same page, if not on the same word. Both understood the precious importance of what was unfolding around them.
They could feel it in the rain – God was sending them a message.
Her lips pulled in a joyful smile, reveling in the moment. The mask smiled back, the eyes a gentle shade of ebony.
“He wants us together.”
V nodded in agreement. He certainly wanted nothing more. But tonight, they would not be returning together. And if she loved him as deeply as she did, she had no choice but to let him go; they both knew that. When he moved to pull away again, he felt her grip tighten around him. It only lasted a moment until it slowly receded and she let him go completely.
“I’ll wait for you,” she said through her tears, “even if you never come.”
“Verily, I come, I come to you,” V promised before nodding once, turning around again, and walked away. His familiar frame disappeared in a curtain of rain, a continuous downpour being the end of their conversation and their meeting. His sadness continued to trail behind him like so many shadows, the same sadness that reflected in Evey’s eyes and brimmed in tears before she, too, turned away and returned back to their sanctuary, content to forever and fervently wait for him to return.