Clear as Fog
By Sydney SAMA
Rain fell down in relentless sheets, spraying heavily on anything and everything. The water fell down hard, mixing with the ocean's turbid waves below. The rocky cliff was high above the crashing sea water, its sides worn and jagged from the constant friction with the water. On the very top was a restaurant; usually not crowded and liked by only a select and distinct few. But today, it was cramped. People inside thanked the roof above their heads for sheltering them from the downpour, and that was their main reason for being there. They only ordered some appetizers, or maybe a few drinks. It wasn't as peaceful as usual since most of the "customers" were packed in and not complacent with sitting still. Apart from the crowd, two figures were calmed and rather content with sitting...outside the restaurant. They had escaped the busy inner chambers, and to them, it was more peaceful to be out with the stormy weather away from it. They were not wet though, unlike all the others outside. Their seats were on the outside of the restaurant, and underneath umbrellas that prevented them from becoming drenched. A bottle of dry white capri was nestled in the silver ice bucket, and two flute shaped glasses were filled halfway. Their lunches had already been eaten and taken away. A white mist from the sea floated around them, making them appear a bit ghostlike. The young woman, her hair a little mussed from the wind, looked to the young man. His outward expression was not as bright as hers.
"Isn't it nice outside?" she asked nonchalantly, looking to the droplets falling all around them.
"Are you kidding? It's pouring out here."
"Yeah, but I still think it's nice."
"But why? It's freezing and wet. Not the best of combinations."
"I know, but still...It just seems..."
Her voice drifted off and she was silent.
"Oh, I don't know. It just seems like everything is getting washed away...You know, being cleansed to some degree," she said.
He too, looked to the direction of the sea.
"Yeah, I guess you could say that."
She watched him from the corner of her eye as he continued to observe the outside world surrounding them.
"I don't know...It seems kind of sad to me"
"Why would it be sad, Cloud?"
"Well, to me, the rain looks like tears." He paused. "Maybe it's sad that everything's getting washed away..."
"That's true too...But anyway, how have you been doing with your job offers?"
He reached for his glass once more. "I'm okay, I guess. But I don't know, everything seems a bit too much for me. I'm sick of dragging myself around."
"Really? That's odd, I thought you never wanted to just stay put."
"Well, some things don't turn out the way you expected."
"Yeah, I'd know the best about that."
"What do you mean?"
"Nothing," she drank some of her capri, delicately lifting the fragile glass to her lips.
"I don't want you to do this," Cloud said, a little abruptly.
She said nothing.
"Don't you think this is a little farfetched, Tifa?"
"Not really, I think it's best for me. Besides, it's like getting a new start, you know?"
"No, I don't know. I really don't want you to do it."
"It's not like it would really matter. Everything would still be the same for you."
"How would you know?"
"I know you."
"I don't think you do. Nothing would be the same."
"We can't really tell that yet. This is what's best for me. I need to start all over, Cloud. I'm tired of picking up leftovers for myself"
He refilled her flute glass with more capri, stretching a bit to reach it. The liquid flowed steadily in a continuous stream into the glass. She traced her finger along the cool edge, drawing a line of clarity through the thin cover of cold, whitened steam. Then, she leaned back and took in a long breath of the ocean fog. The clean smell was tinged with a bit of salt, and it refreshed her body as she inhaled deeply. She could almost feel it pulsing through her blood, sending a cool tingle down through each vein.
"Besides, doing this will make me be able to let go of things."
"Let go of what?"
"Things that I held onto too tightly. A few expendable certitudes that should be left behind, I guess."
"You'll never understand."
"What do you mean? I've known you since we were kids. I know I'd be able to understand if you just said so. I understand everything about you better than anyone."
"You can't just do this to me," he said, after setting down his own glass. It was still filled a quarter of the way. This time, she refilled it for him.
"Just do this without telling me why."
"Maybe it really doesn't need an explanation."
"Tifa, everything has an explanation."
"Not everything, you just think they do. That's just you to think that."
"Show me one instance where something doesn't have an explanation."
"Why do people breathe, then?"
"Because we need oxygen, that's obvious."
"But why do we need oxygen?"
"Because we need it to fuel our heart and our lungs," he said. "Listen, I don't know why you're asking me this..."
She cut him off, "Why do we need to fuel our hearts?"
"Because we need to live."
"Why do we need to live?"
He was silent. He focused his eyes on the mark that she had made earlier with her fingers. It was quickly fading. Outside, the rain was beginning to thin.
"I don't know."
She leaned back and combed her fingers through her chocolate brown strands.
"You see? Some things just can't possibly be explained. Simplification is often the best way to understand things. You need to let some things be." Tifa reached out a hand to wet her fingers with some of the falling rain. She rubbed the water between her fingers.
"Because you'll just kill yourself trying to find the explanation." He watched her as she continued to rub her fingers together, decimating the water until it had completely vanished.
She was silent, then moved her eyes to meet his. They wavered.
"It's not like I want to do this, Cloud."
"Then why are you?"
"I can't keep waiting. I just can't handle it."
"Keep waiting for what? You keep telling me things that don't make any sense to me, then don't say what it means," he said.
"It would make sense if you looked a little harder."
"What am I supposed to be looking for?"
She looked down, "The rain's starting to let up...What time is it?"
"It's only 3:14, you still have about 46 minutes. You're not going to miss your train, don't worry."
"Listen...the reason I'm doing this is because I was disappointed."
"By everything. It's like my whole time here on this being here, in this town, in this planet has amounted to nothing."
"You can't possibly mean that."
"Well, it's like everything I didn't care about, I could have. Everything important to me, I lost...and everything I wanted, truly wanted, I could never have."
"Maybe you weren't trying hard enough."
"Yeah, maybe. But still, I waited a long time...and it seems clear that I'll never get it."
"But you don't know that."
His eyes pierced into hers through the dank air. She looked away, biting her lip.
"From the situation, it seems impossible...and I hate it. You know I hate waiting, I'm not a patient person."
"Sure you are. You're probably the most patient person I know. It's just that you don't know it."
"No, I don't."
"I mean, yeah, you can be impulsive at times, but everything else...you just know how to handle. Don't you remember everything that happened to us? "
"Everything. Everything we did a few months ago. You were the only one who could stay calm when no one else could. I mean, God, don't you remember the final day when Cid dropped his cigarette in Barret's hair by accident?"
They both laughed. Suddenly, she put her hand on his.
"Listen, before I leave, I just want to get things clear."
Her focused eyes were met with a confused look. She looked away from him, and his gaze followed her.
She didn't move her hand, and looked up at him again.
"You know I'd swim a mile in the ocean, even in this kind of weather, right?"
"But you hate swimming...I don't understand what you're trying to get at."
"Forget it, it's nothing," she said as she removed her hand.
"Wait, what are you trying to say? All this time, you've been-"
He never finished.
"Hey, at least it's all clear outside right? The rain's stopped," she said.
Outside, the water had stopped falling and the clouds began to scatter away from the giant gray mass they had once been a part of. For a moment, everything stopped bustling about, and the first few rays of sun cut through the misty and damp air.
She smiled at him.
â le fin â
Author's notes: this was originally derived from a short story that i had to write for my creative writing class...we were assigned to write dialogue between two characters that involved little or no exposition and thought. it was pretty difficult, but still rather enjoyable. the story was actually very different in setting and obviously, characters, from the beginning, but i thought this might have been good for a fanfic. anyway, i had this pleasant feeling come over me as i wrote this, like a mist...but i hope it reflected upon you, the reader as well... and also, this concept was a little different than my usual cloud::tifa fanfics, i guess i needed something different where the outcome was changed. and to make things a bit more interesting, here's a little contest for those who actually read my damn notes...!
CONTEST: since it's the summer, and i have a leetle bit more time than usual, i've set up a simple contest. this fic (or short story) was supposed to be based around a short story we read in my creative writing class. it was also an example of heavy dialogue and little thought/exposition (duh, obviously). the title of the story is called "Hills Like White Elephants"... the first person to e-mail me with the author of this short story will get a custom made fic...mind you, it will be a one-shot, and the subject matter had better be reasonable... but if you know who the author is, e-mail me at : SyberSquid@aol.com ...good luck to all of you literary aspiring people!
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