It was cold out, and the heavy November rain didn’t help much, Anna let out a steamed breath and gave an involuntary shudder as it fell about her shoulders like shards of broken glass.

Even though it was a discomfort, Anna welcomed the downpour with open arms, thankful for it as it masked away the steady stream of tears that fell against her cheek.

She felt insecure in that moment, like an open wound bound to infection or a book spread wide to its middle pages, where the climax of the story took place and everything started to unravel like a ball of twine, a kitten nimbly pawing away at the other end.

She shivered lightly as the rain sunk into her clothes and soaked her skin, the streetlight that towered above her blinked furiously, whether it was at her incompetence or something else Anna didn’t know, and if she were to ask she knew she’d get no answer.

She balled her fists against her sides and deftly looked to the empty space in front of her, it was all out there now, every feeling she’d ever felt hung in the air, choking her, the silence enveloped her, wrapping her up in coils like a snake, in that moment Anna knew what it felt like to truly be terrified.

“Give me one reason to stay Anna...!”

I love you!”

It should have been enough, she knew that, but it wasn’t, she wasn’t, that was the harsh truth of it all, through everything, the heartbreak and the tears, the good times, the laughter, the confessions and the bitching it just wasn’t good enough anymore.

It meant nothing.

He’d stood there not five minutes ago, wanting answers that she couldn’t possibly give him, and when she’d tried to explain it was all that had come out...‘I love you’...and he’d merely shrugged it off like the first layer of snow to fall on a jacket sleeve.

At least he’d be dry, she thought as she remembered the umbrella he’d clutched in his hand as if it were his last hope, a lifeline. She brought her hand to touch her lips, and smiled dejectedly as she tried to memorise how his lips felt against hers. At least he’d left her with a kiss, she had of course deserved that much after all the years of standing by him, being the best that she could be.

She clenched her eyes tightly shut and took a deep breath; she wiped the tears from her eyes and lifted her head up high and her hands fisted in her coat pockets, as she started to walk in the opposite direction.

She stopped briefly and dared a look over her shoulder, she smiled a little more brightly as there under the street light she saw the two of them, arm in arm laughing as they walked home together, she remembered clearly the way he’d drunkenly spun her around and then held her closely in his arms and kissed her before kindly passing it off as nothing.

“I love you...”

Anna nodded lightly as once again and started walking down the street, wishing him good luck, and hoping that one day that they’d both end up truly happy, because through it all he’d always mean the world to her.

“...and a part of me always will, goodbye Michael...”

I'm 10, standing in the caravan, reading the back of a Guns n' Roses album, Use Your Illusion I, to find out what the heart tugging rock song is. "Nothin' lasts forever, and we both know hearts can change. And it's hard to hold a candle, in the cold November rain." Axl Rose croons the words in his harsh but emotive voice. The piano & strings create a melancholy landscape to paint on, layers upon layers throughout the song tumbling the imagination and emotions together, the guitar solo cutting to the core. "Sometimes I need some time all alone. Everybody needs some time on their own. Don't you know you need some time all alone." It speaks to me, although I haven't experienced a romantic relationship yet, and wouldn't for another 6 years. "So never mind the darkness, we still can find a way, 'cause nothin' lasts forever, even cold November rain." The guitar squeals in, changing the tone, words being chanted angry and accusatory. "Don't ya think that you need someone. Everybody needs somebody. You're not the only one." Pleas are over, only the underlying frustration remains.

All around is the familiarity of our farm. The tagasastes are in full bloom, cricket songs fill the air, long dry oats and grass twining through the wire fence where it hasn't been trodden down or eaten. The earth beneath the grass is a deep rich red. Sheep are calling each other in the next paddock over. I am home and I know this place, but home is now also a wonderland for the weekend.

The brother I idolise has just graduated from highschool and is hosting a School Leavers weekend on our farm in the paddock below the house. The caravan has been set up as the sound system for a paddock full of tents and campervans. AC/DC, Guns n' Roses, Mötley Crüe, Poison, and Alice Cooper all have a high rotation. There are portaloos set up in one corner of the paddock; the ongoing party is its own little ecosystem that doesn't need the house at all. Older kids are everywhere, and there's enough there that I can keep hanging out with them most of the time, never being in one cluster of people long enough to become the hated irritating younger sibling brat. I am taught poker, betting with matchsticks in a cosy campervan, alcohol being passed around the group that won't be able to legally drink it until their birthdays next year. I am not allowed any alcohol, of course. It is understood that I am both part of and separate from the party.




The years march on and the weekend becomes a memory. Driving along, Gun n' Roses comes on the radio, the piano coming in strong and the strings mellowing it out. I am instantly transported back in time, the sounds of the party surrounding me as I stand alone in the caravan, just me, the album cover, and the song filling my mind and heart. November Rain will always be this time and place for me.


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