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Fountains in the Rain
by [?]

It was the same when he watched the central column.

At first glance, it seemed as neat, as motionless, as a sculpture fashioned out of water. Yet watching closely he could see a transparent ghost of movement moving upward from bottom to top. With furious speed it climbed, steadily filling a slender cylinder of space from base to summit, replacing each moment what had been lost the moment before, in a kind of perpetual replenishment. It was plain that at heaven’s height it would be finally frustrated; yet the unwaning power that supported unceasing failure was magnificent.

The fountains he had brought the girl to see had ended by completely fascinating the boy himself. He was still dwelling on their virtues when his gaze, lifted higher, met the sky from which the all-enveloping rain was falling.

He got rain on his eyelashes.

The sky, hemmed in by dense clouds, hung low over his head; the rain fell copiously and without cease. The whole scene was filled with rain. The rain descending on his face was exactly the same as that falling on the roofs of the red-brick buildings and hotel in the distance. His own almost beardless face, smooth and shiny, and the rough concrete that floored the deserted room of one of those buildings were no more than two surfaces exposed, unresisting, to the same rain. From the rain’s point of view, his cheeks and the dirty concrete roof were quite identical.

Immediately, the image of the fountains there before his eyes was wiped from his mind. Quite suddenly, fountains in the rain seemed to represent no more than the endless repetition of a stupid and pointless process.

Before long, he had forgotten both his joke of a while ago and the anger that had followed it, and felt his mind steadily becoming empty.

Empty, save for the falling rain….

Aimlessly, the boy started walking.

“Where are you going?” She fell into step with him as she spoke, this time keeping a firm hold on the handle of the umbrella.

“Where? That’s my business, isn’t it? I told you quite plainly some time ago didn’t I?”

o;What did you tell me?”

He gazed at her in horror, but the rain had washed away the traces of tears from the drenched face, and although the damp, reddened eyes still showed the aftermath of weeping, the voice in which she spoke was no longer shaky.

“What do you mean, ‘What?’ I told you a while back, didn’t I? — that we’d better split up. ”

Just then, the boy spotted, beyond her profile as it moved through the rain, some crimson azalea bushes blooming, small and grudgingly, here and there on the lawn.

“Really? Did you say that? I didn’t hear you. ” Her voice was normal.

Almost bowled over by shock, the boy managed a few steps further before an answer finally came and he stammered:

“But — in that case, what did you cry for? I don’t get it. ”

She didn’t reply immediately. Her wet little hand was still firmly attached to the umbrella handle.

“The tears just came. There wasn’t any special reason. ”

Furious, he wanted to shout something at her, but at the crucial moment it came out as an enormous sneeze.

If I’m not careful I’m going to get a cold, he thought.