Sheets of rain slice your face. From this distance, you should be able to see Salthill’s bars and restaurants but they’re nothing but a blur in the night.
The wind kicks your hood to your spine. Your hands try to pull it up, but the rain throws a tantrum. It demands to touch your hair. Jeans are drenched and your jeans are skinny, so your skin and bones are soaked.
You drag your knees to your chest. Sleeves hold your skin the way she used to hold you. You wonder if she’d come running if you asked. Your phone sits in TB306 and the college will have closed by now.
Friends are searching for you. They must be. It’s been nine hours since your tutorial at three. Since you ran before your seminar started. Thank God lecturers take the elevator, so you weren’t forced to face yours while flying down the stairs.
Maybe they’re not searching. Your roommates are most likely on the couch. Palms curled around cups of hot chocolate, wondering when you’ll walk through the door. Not worried about what to do if you don’t.
The Atlantic crashes the rocks below you. You press your spine to the wall. You can’t climb it. It must be twenty feet high and you’re only a quarter of that. The tide crawls closer.
Swim, your conscious commands, swim.
Surely someone will come. All your peers saw her walk into that room with her hand in his. They must’ve seen your face. They must’ve seen you run.
In your mind, she drops everything to run across the city. To trip on the cobblestones to go to your favourite place. It would destroy her off-white Vans, but she’d dive into the ocean to reach you. Despite everything, some part of her has to love you.
Waves crash against rock, and they echo a shout. You shove your eyelids open. A silhouette stands behind the barricade. Thanks to the retired lighthouse, you can’t make out a face. It could be God. It could be Poseidon. It could be the Devil herself.
Your throat tastes of sandpaper. The rain tastes like blood. You must’ve bitten your tongue.
The stranger shouts for you to swim. You realise they’re not here to save you.
Hiss when your hands slap stone. Start to crawl but scrape your knees. You stand. A hundred heartbeats pass before you jump from one rock to another. Fifty for the following. Thirty for the next. The rest of the rocks have been swallowed by the sea.
The wind knocks you back. You turn, so the next time the wind comes, you fall into the water.
Splutter. Swim. Splash. One arm up, one arm down. Ignore the cramp in your calf. Ignore the sting in your eyes. All you feel is the sea. All you taste is the salt.
There’s no one around when you crawl onto the boardwalk. The waves are almost silent.
When you arrive home, your roommates are asleep.
The next day, you see that the only text you received was a deal from Domino’s. You cancel the subscription.
In class, you keep your eyes on the desk and try to suppress the water that still swims in your ears.
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