Love Knows I’m Hurting
Martin Hooijmans | Lars de Ruyter
Rain was pouring down by the bucket loads. The shops had closed for the day, as no one in their right mind was still out on the street. All lights were out, except for the one belonging to the little flower boutique. It was a tiny place, cramped in between the massive warehouses that made up the scene, their large shopping windows no more than black, gaping holes in this weather.
In the deafening roar of the downpour, the click of the lock as the old shopkeeper closed up wasn’t even heard by the man himself. He glanced back at the scene outside and shivered at the sight of it, thinking longingly of his umbrella that sat at home, waiting for him. It struck him that it was one of the many cold, lifeless things there. All cold, none warm. They had been, but not anymore. People had been amazed that he had opened up his boutique today. They had been concerned when he told them he had to make the flower arrangements for his wife’s funeral. It was something he did for others all the time, so why shouldn’t he do it for the love of his life? It kept his mind occupied, that as well. Now it was done, and as he stepped out in the rain it seemed as if the world was weeping for him. Screaming for him. All the grief he somehow couldn’t express was laid out here, right in front of his eyes. And now that his duty was done, he would embrace it.
He stepped into the street. His hair, his clothes, his shoes, his skin, all were immediately soaked. The cold was dreadful. He would make his way home, and fast. But as he turned to walk, something stopped him in his tracks. Something that made him feel warm, that made the rain feel more like a sincere embrace. It was the sound of a guitar, hard and desperate. The instrument was taking a beating, but it was the sweetest sound the man had ever heard. It felt like understanding.
He looked around for the source and found it in the shape of a young man with long black hair that hung in front of his face. His hands firmly held the worn, oakwood guitar he was pounding desperately, producing tones louder than anything the rain could dish out. It was the sound of pain. The emotional kind. He seemed fully unaware of his surroundings, completely immersed in the music, and so didn’t notice the senior coming to a halt in front of him. So they stood there for a while, one listening, one playing. The florist wanted the man to continue playing indefinitely. Surely the lack of music would reintroduce the cold that had grasped him a moment ago. But it wasn’t like that.
The guitarist stopped playing and looked up. What the florist saw in his eyes was almost indescribable. It reminded him of the morning, when he had stood in front of a mirror, staring at his own, disillusioned expression for at least an hour. He had not known himself. Seeing this man, this stranger who was bearing the same kind of agony, and looking into his eyes, was the best comfort he could have received.
They were alone, both of them. Only it wasn’t like that. It didn’t feel like that. Not here in the pounding rain that expressed their feelings so well. Not here in this spot. Not now.