One night a couple years later I went back.

I never told anyone, but I wanted to see if the gargoyle was still there.

It was a nasty Thursday night. It rained a February rain, steady and cold enough to be annoying but not dramatic enough to be interesting. I had been eating burritos with some of the guys, keeping our weekly tradition. There were fewer of us now. We didn’t even talk about the gargoyle; it had appeared unbidden in my thoughts, clutched on tight, and wouldn’t let go. I wanted to see it again.

I drove to the building where it waited in the dark. Ill-equipped for the journey and wearing a green hoodie that was about as effective as a sponge, I walked up the sidewalk in the downpour.

I rounded the corner of the building and had just glimpsed the bush where the gargoyle hid when something hot and bright ripped through the air behind me. An immense boom followed.

“I froze. I’ve never been that close to lightning in my life. I legitimately thought I was going to die.”

“Whoa. What’d you do next?”

“I laughed. I laughed and turned around and walked back to the car. Message received.”

I finished pulling on my flannel pants. “I realized I didn’t need the gargoyle anymore.”

“That’s right,” She said, sitting cross-legged on the bed, “because you have me.” Her eyes twinkled as she patted the bed next to her. Her lips held back endless secrets; Her smile was a question mark inviting me to answer.

I crawled onto the bed and kissed her.

She brushed the hair out of her eyes.

“I missed you,” she said.