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Fountains in the Rain
by [?]

Her? I could easily deal with herif I cared to, he told himself. I could just shove her in the fountain and do a bunk — and that would be the end of it. The thought restored his earlier elation. No, the only trouble was the absolute frustration he felt at the rain, the tears, the leaden sky that hung like a barrier before him. They pressed down on him on all sides, reducing his freedom to a kind of damp rag.

Angry, the boy gave in to a simple desire to hurt. Nothing would satisfy him now till he had got Masako thoroughly soaked in the rain and given her a good eyeful of the fountains.

Getting up suddenly, he set off running without so much as a glance back; raced on along the gravel path that encircled the fountains outside and a few steps higher than the walk around the fountains themselves; reached a spot that gave a full view of that; and came to a halt.

The girl came running through the rain. Checking herself just as she was about to collide with him, she took a firm grip of the umbrella he was holding up. Damp with tears and rain, her face was pale.

“Where are you going?” she said through her gasps.

Akio was not supposed to reply, yet found himself talking as effortlessly as though he’d been waiting for her to ask this very thing.

“Just look at the fountains. Look! You can cry as much as you like, but you’re no match for them. ”

And the two of them tilted the umbrella and, freed from the need to keep their eyes on each other, stared for a while at the three fountains: the central one imposing, the other two slighter, like attendants flanking it on both sides.

Amidst the constant turmoil of the fountains and the pool around them, the streaks of rain falling into the water were almost indistinguishable. Paradoxically, the only sound that struck the ear was the fitful drone of distant cars; the noise of the fountains wove itself so closely into the surrounding air that unless you made an effort to hear you seemed to be enclosed in perfect silence.

First, the water at the bottom bounced in isolated drops off the huge shallow basin of black granite, then ran in a continual drizzle over the black rim.

Another six jets of water, describing far-flung radiating arcs in the air, stood guard around the main column that shot upward from the center of each basin.

This column, if you watched carefully, did not always achieve the same height. In the almost complete absence of a breeze, the water spouted vertically and undisturbed toward the gray, rainy sky, varying from time to time in the height of its summit. Occasionally, ragged water would be flung up to an astonishing height before finally dispersing into droplets and floating to earth again.

The water near the summit, shadowed by the clouds that were visible through it, was gray with an admixture of chalky white, almost too powdery-looking for real water, and a misty spray clung about it, while around the column played a mass of foam in large white flakes mingling like snow with the rain.

But Akio was less taken with the three main columns of water than with the water that shot out in radiating curves all around.

The jets from the big central fountain in particular leaped far above the marble rim, flinging up their white manes only to dash themselves gallantly down again onto the surface of the pool. The sight of their untiring rushing to the four quarters threatened to usurp his attention. Almost before he knew it, his mind, which till now had been with him in this place, was being taken over by the water, carried away on it’s rushing, cast far away….