Stormy Weather


Because every relationship has rough spots

Out the window
All the trees shake angry fingers at the sky
And the people hunch their shoulders
Hold their collars over their ears and run by
It's a cold rain
It's a hard rain
Like the kind that you find in songs
I guess that makes me the jerk with the heartache
Here to sing to you how I've been done wrong

The rain rolled down the windowpane in fat, fluctuating drops, tripping over the dry spots and making a louder clatter than the roar in her head had made for the past hour. At first, she'd been watching out the window for him, hoping that he'd chase her the way most men would--the way most men SHOULD--but he hadn't shown, and now she was just looking out the window because looking around the house would make the tears start up again, and it was so much easier to watch the clouds cry.

He wasn't coming home. And, more than the fact that he wasn't coming home, she hated that she KNEW he wasn't coming home. It wasn't so much about the fact that they'd yelled, or that she'd screamed, or that he'd slammed the door, but about the fact that the their yelling had been final, and her screaming had been painful, and the slam of the door had meant that it was over.

And to think, all that time, she hadn't moved an inch from the windowseat. She'd been able to sit down while she screamed at him, while he stood in the door like a deer in headlights, eyes wide with surprise at everything that she threw at him. But he should've known. He should've understood. And, really, he should've expected as well. Because he'd been there for her, and she'd been there for him, and they'd been there for each other.

They'd been there for each other, but they obviously hadn't shared very much, or he would've expected every word that she hurled his way.

She heaved the thirty-third sigh of the hour and glared at the rain. Maybe he hadn't been there. Maybe she hadn't been there. Maybe they hadn't been there. At any rate, it didn't matter anymore. He was gone and he was glad and he wasn't coming back and she...well, she was just angry.

It hadn't occurred to her until that very moment how angry she actually was, but she was. She was angry. Furious, even. Because he'd walked out over and over again talking about how tired he was, never bothering to ask her how she felt about the messes they were constantly getting themselves into. And they were, really. Getting themselves into messes.

She didn't hate that part. What she hated was how she always ended up as the maid with the vacuum sucking up the shards of a relationship that never should've been in the first place.

It hurt. She'd be lying if she said that it didn't hurt. Of course, it hurt more that he'd never bothered to ask her how tired she was.

She was angry, yes. But she was also really fucking tired.

How could you do nothing
And say "I'm doing my best"
How could you take almost everything
And then come back for the rest
How could you beg me to stay
Reach out your hands and plead
Then pack up your eyes and run away
As soon as I agreed

She'd known from the moment he walked into her eyes and into her life that his fear was going to be a problem. He'd spent the first month of their relationship hiding behind anything and everything before pulling her into his arms, and she hated that he wouldn't hold her unless they were alone. She wanted the world to know how much she cared for this man, this man that kept screwing her over again and again. She wanted everyone to know what a sucker she was, but he wouldn't be proud to place his arms around her unless all the lights were out and the only world that existed between them was whatever fantasy danced across the television screen in neon lights.

She hated how, even when they were alone, it took an hour for his hand to find hers.

She'd even taught him to play the guitar just so that she could be closer to him. She'd held each one of his fingers in her own, moving them across the fretboard and feeling the calluses on the pads of his fingers even before they formed. She'd helped him to balance the smallest pick between his thumb and forefinger before dragging it across the strings slowly. She'd help him to form the chords before he even knew what the notes were supposed to sound like. She didn't even mind guiding him, because she understood that, regardless of who had more experience, he would always be the one that needed more instruction. She was okay with that. She was okay with his hesitancy, with his frustration, with his impatience even when she was forced to be doubly patient with him. She could deal with being the teacher. She could deal with him striking every few chords out of tune. She could deal with the fact that he never touched her with the tenderness he summoned to strum the chords she taught him. She could even deal with the fact that he held her guitar tighter to him than he'd ever held her body.

She couldn't deal with the way he walked away after each song was done.

She hated the way he'd walked away after their song was done.  And now, staring at the rain, she wasn't sure whether she just really hated all of his habits, or whether she just really hated him.

Something told her that the relationship was over whenever the love and the hate couldn't be distinguished or separated. Whenever the love didn't overshadow or overpower the hate, that's when she knew it was over.

She didn't ever expect him to realize it was over, though. Of course, staring at the rain, she wasn't exactly sure that, in his mind, they'd ever really began.

She clenched her fists, trying to remind herself of exactly why she'd fallen in love in the first place.

It just all slips
Away so slowly
You don't even notice till you've lost a lot
I've been like one of those zombies in Vegas
Pouring quarters into a slot
And now I'm tired
And I am broke
And I feel stupid and I feel used
And I'm at the end of my little rope
And I am swinging back and forth about you

It could have been his eyes. Or maybe the way his hair framed his face. Or maybe the way his features contorted when he sang. Maybe it was the way that, when there was any kind of music around, she could trick herself into believing that there was something in the world about which he actually cared deeply.

It didn't matter. She'd learned shortly after she met him that he'd never care deeply about her.

She hated the way she cared so much about him that she let herself settle for someone who didn't care at all.

God, she was tired. Tired of dealing with him, tired of yelling with him, tired of screaming at him, and tired of being on the other end of every door that he slammed when he was angry. She was tired of his temper tantrums and his constant choice of flight over fight. She was tired of having to play the calm one every time he decided that he needed a door to slam and a body to scream at and a hand to avoid.

Mostly, she was tired of the fact that she never got to play the one that got angry. She hated the fact that she never got to slam the door.

Of course, given the opportunity, she wasn't sure if she could slam the door. Not if his face was on the other side of it.

Either way, it didn't matter. She'd been staring at the rain long enough that she was thoroughly convinced that she'd never get the chance to slam the door on his face because he wouldn't be coming back. Whether she liked it or not, it was over.

She hated that he was cowardly enough to end it without a proper fight. At the same time, though, she was starting to like the fact that she wasn't going to have to watch him slam the door anymore.

But before it gets so cold
The rain turns to snow
There's just one thing
I'd like to know

When she heard a key in the lock, she knew she'd smiled too soon. Knew so much, in fact, that she listened to his breathing in silence for the five minutes before he managed to summon enough intellect to actually talk to her.

"What? No greeting?"

She didn't bother to look away from the window. As long as she was watching the rain run down the glass, she could still hold onto the image of his face behind the door.

"What am I supposed to say?"

"Hell if I know. Anything would be good."

She sighed. Sigh number thirty-four. "Anything. Nothing. Hell, throw in some everything too, while we're at it."

She could hear him sigh behind her, and there existed a tiny bit of satisfaction at the fact that she could cause a reaction in him that didn't involve slamming doors and screams louder than the silence they were forced to endure most of the time.

"Why do you have to be so difficult?"

A shrug. "Oh, so now I'm difficult? Forgive me if I'm wrong, but weren't you the one who walked out?"

"I came back."

She hated that she had a greater affinity for the image of his face behind the door than for the image of his face just over her shoulder.

"Congratulations. Pretend I'm throwing confetti."

"You know I didn't mean it like that."

She closed her eyes against the rain and leaned her head against the window, trying to feel the water along her forehead, wishing she could be outside with the rain instead of inside with the storm. Inside with him.

"You know, the more I watch you run out of here like you're doing Road Runner impressions, the more I realize how little I really do know about you."

She expected him to start yelling then, to start throwing the same tantrum her words had incited an hour before, but he didn't.

"Times like these, I don't think I know a whole hell of a lot about you either. I came back, though. Isn't that what you wanted? For me to come back?"

Her voice was sharper than the glass she so badly wanted to fall through. "What I wanted was for you to not leave in the first place."

His surprise was evident in his voice, and she knew from the volume that he was getting closer. Ironically, it was the first time she would've preferred for him to stay away. "You wanted me to stay?"

"Yeah. Why, I don't know, since we can't seem to get this whole relationship thing off the ground, but I wanted you to stay. I always want you to stay."

In her mind's eye, he was furrowing his brow, but she refused to open her eyes so she could see the wrinkles on his forehead. "Even when I'm angry?"

"Yeah. Even when you're angry. Hell, even when I'm angry. If you care enough to stay, it means that there's hope enough for us to work through whatever made you want to leave in the first place."

"So what does it mean if I care enough to come back?"

She wasn't angry anymore. She wasn't even tired anymore. She was just one big, tired, angry ball of exasperation. "It means you're trying to resurrect the hope that you killed whenever you slammed the fucking door in my face."

"Am I having any luck?"

"No. None."

How could you do nothing
And say "I'm doing my best"
How could you take almost everything
And then come back for the rest
How could you beg me to stay
Reach our your hand and plead
Then pack up your eyes and run away
As soon as I agreed

He sighed. His second sigh to her thirty-fourth. Technically, this meant that he cared seventeen times less than she did, but she was merely furious at the fact that their relationship had faded to nothing more than division. In fact, she felt so divided that she was beginning to doubt that they had ever been whole in the first place.

"You're still pissed at me."

"And you're just as intelligent as you ever were."

"Why do we do this to each other?"

She summoned enough energy for a hollow laugh. "We aren't doing anything to each other. Maybe that's the problem."

"So what should we be doing?"

"Staying, for one thing."

He sighed. Again. "Look, I'm sorry I left. I know it doesn't mean shit to you at this point, but I really am sorry. I just...I get really pissed, and I don't need to stay and scream at you when I'm pissed, because more often than not, none of it was your fault to begin with."

"No, it wasn't. It never is. We never do enough to each other for anything to be anybody's fault."

"We play guitar together."

"No. No, we don't play guitar together. I play guitar. You play guitar. I taught you how to play guitar, and I tried to get us to play together, but then you learned the rest of the chords on your own and finished the stupid songs. You started closing your door whenever you practiced. We don't play guitar together."

"We watch movies together."

"No. No, we don't watch movies together. You watch the movie, and I spend the whole time watching your hands and wondering when they won't be so far away from me."

She knew when he didn't sigh that he was about to cross the line. Of course, when his hand hit her shoulder and she flinched, she knew that he wasn't going to slam the door as quickly this time around.

"Why won't you look at me?"

"Because then I'm just going to end up watching you walk away again, and I'm sick of watching you walk away."

His voice was too close for her to be as calm as she was.

"Who said I'm going to walk away this time?"

Before it gets so cold
The rain turns to snow
There's just one thing
I'd like to know

Against her better judgment, she opened her eyes and looked back at him.

"All due respect? You're a creature of habit. No one had to say anything."

"I came back this time," he pointed out. "I don't usually come back."

"Maybe you should stick to what works, then."

He sighed heavily. The fourth sigh, but it could have been the fifth. It was heavy enough and long enough to count as two, and it registered in the back of her mind that he was finally catching up with her.

"Are you as tired of this as I am?"

She was so surprised to have been asked that all she could do was nod.

"So why can't we quit remember all of the times we should have and start making some memories that don't involve regret?"

"Because you don't want to make any memories outside of the living room."

He smiled slowly and tentatively. "Did it ever occur to you that I slammed the door because it was easier than 'fessing up to the fact that I've screwed up so much?"

She was through lying and too tired to argue, so she simply shook her head. "No."

His smile grew. "Maybe I came back because I realized I'd done wrong. Maybe I came back because, if you're not too tired of me to hope a little longer, I'd like to start making memories outside the living room." He paused to brush the hair out of her eyes, and the simple gesture, the gentle touch was enough to make her wonder why she'd ever been angry. "So what do you say? Are you too tired to hope?"

She eyed him warily. "Maybe I'm too tired to answer right now."

He nodded. "It's fine. We've got time. We'll just take it memory by memory."

She arched an eyebrow, obviously unconvinced. "And they'll all be outside the living room, right?"


"And how do you plan to keep this particular promise?"

He chuckled. "Well, if you're not too pissed, I figured we could start right here, right now."

She frowned. "I'm still not happy."

He nodded. "I know. And I'm not completely happy either. But, like I said, we've got time. I figure I've slammed enough doors for awhile."

She laughed hollowly. "You've slammed enough doors for a lifetime."

How could you do nothing
And say "I'm doing my best"
How could you take almost everything
And then come back for the rest
How could you beg me to stay
Reach our your hand and plead
Then pack up your eyes and run away
As soon as I agreed

"So maybe it's time to start another lifetime."

She rolled her eyes. "Oh? And what in the hell makes you think you get two lifetimes?"

He shrugged. "Nothing. Nothing at all. But, like I said, we've got time to decide."

"And what of that memory we're supposed to be making?"

He smiled. Small, but enough that she didn't look back at the rain. "We're making it right now."

She leaned into the hug he offered partly because she wanted his arms around her, and partly because she was tired of sitting so tall when all she wanted to do was fall into the storm. The second her own rain began to fall, though, his apology was in her ear.

"I really am sorry, you know. Not just about slamming the door. About everything."

She sighed, but it was okay, because she could feel him sighing with her, and she knew he'd stick around to catch up.

"I know."

"Done Wrong"
lyrics and music by Ani Difranco