He does not turn around until he reaches the adjacent street. By then the diner is dark and the sign on the door that had once read OPEN is now flipped to read CLOSED. The heavy rain has turned into a light and wheezy drizzle. Soaked to the bone, he begins to walk down the street. He turns at Huston and sets north. Below 14th street the city is a dark and foreboding place. The invading rain now is cold. His coat sticks to him like heavy second skin. His breath is vapor in his mouth. He walks and walks and walks and gets no closer to what he needs to find. He hugs himself close against the night and shivers. He slumps against a wall and blinks, looking down the empty street of blacken tenements like stone fingers grasping toward the starless night. The street lamp cast down amber light that reflects in pools of curbside rainwater. To him, they look like bright hungry eyes. They are big black shapes and bright hungry eyes. He reaches the corner and he goes west toward Union Square. He wants to reach the sea for some reason. He wants to reach the bridge. He walks to the corner and shivers and sighs. A hacking cough comes to lips and his eyes flutters. He is tired.
" Hey "
He turns and there she is. Thin and small with hair the color of coppery blood. She has bright green eyes like jade coins and wears a thin stripe long-sleeve shirt against the bare cold. Looks at him lazily like a lizard on a rock.
" Are you him? " She asks
And he looks at her and he knows.
" I am " He says.