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When It Rains by Mugdhaa Ranade

Outside, the rain falls softly, but relentlessly, icy needles colliding and melting against the

glass window. Inside, the rumpled bed sheets are a cocoon for naked bodies tangled together,

the heat between them hellfire and heaven.


For you, gazing up at him through half-lidded eyes, the sheets are a silk bubble, narrowing

the world down to just the two of you, safe in your little haven, shielded from the storm

outside. For him, thrusting inside you in a daze, the cocoon is an inferno; he feels like a lone

man under the scorching heat of the desert sun— he sees mirages.


Your hair is matted with sweat, your lips plump and kiss-bitten, parted to let soft moans

escape. You whine his name, high and breathy, drawing your legs up to wrap them around his

hips. You keep chanting his name; a command, a plea.


He only hears my voice, calling him by the name only I used to call him. Your features

flicker in his mind’s eye, and he sees me, only me. Baby, I call out to him, my voice curling

fondly around the term of endearment, as if crafting the word anew, specially for him. I reach

my hands out to cradle his face, wipe the sweat off his brow, caress his cheeks. Smiling the

gentle smile I would reserve only for him, I whisper, I love you.


It breaks him.


Closing his eyes, he surrenders himself to the familiar, cherished motions of loving me with

his body. My love, he mumbles, pace quickening, thrusts becoming erratic, body trembling as

he falls into my open arms; his sanctuary, his home. My love, he mouths against my forehead,

punctuating it with a kiss.


A garbled sound catching in my throat, I throw my head back, squeezing my eyes shut, lips

parting as I orgasm, clenching around him. My loud cry of his name fades to a whimper as I

tighten my legs around him, as if trying to meld us together into one being, one soul. The way

we were always meant to be.


It takes him to the edge and he orgasms, breathing out my name, muffling his panting in my

neck. He told me once that sex with me felt like death and birth alike; a sacrificial killing at

the altar of love, a cleansing. I understand him now. I have been cleansed.


He nearly purrs as he feels fingers in his hair, curling and uncurling, tugging at strands

gently. Pressing a kiss to my neck, he lifts his head up so he can gaze at his lover underneath

him, playing with his hair. I love you, he says, feeling his heart swell to the point of bursting.

He utters my name with reverence, offering his mouth to his god for the taking.


It’s not you.


You know it’s not you even as you accept the kiss, heart shattering like a wave looming

above the raging sea and crashing against jagged rocks. You close your eyes and let your

tears scorch a path down your cheeks. You will never be what he wants, what he needs.


You will never be me.


Neither the glass window, nor the silk sheets will ever be able to save you when it rains.


Originally Published by Tigers Zine 2022


Mugdhaa Ranade wakes up everyday hoping to find dry leaves to crunch underfoot, and stray cats to pet. Her writing has appeared in Overheard Lit, Bending Genres, American Literary Review, and more. She can be found in person in Mumbai, India, and online on Twitter @swxchhxnd


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