It’s raining heavily now. The rain drops are wetting everything their fingers can reach. Even underneath a black, wooly sweater my skin is a victim. I’m walking gingerly towards it. My curly hair soon becomes slick against my face and I part strands to be able to maintain my sense of sight, not that I needed it. My feet are capable of leading me to where I’m going without me even thinking about it. A trickle of memories wiggle their way into my consciousness and soon my mind welcomes the torrent flow of them pouring in, each vying for recognition. Slowly, my mind is numbed by them and then the flutter in my chest is calmed.
I can’t feel the cold in my fingertips anymore. It’s almost as if I’m sitting by a fire pit and huddled under warm sheets. Almost but not quite. The rain has begun to fall harder now making it impossible to hear the sound of my own steps. I let a memory envelope me in it’s embrace.
It’s evening and I’m irritable. I can not make up my mind on what to consume for dinner. The internet connection is crappy as usual. My roommate’s are acting inconsiderately. I am tired. Today was another hot day and filled with too many long classes which comprised of the drone of a sole voice while we all fidgeted.
I’m at the bottom of the steps and instant messages are streaming in with the sudden burst of network connection. I have finally chosen a meal for dinner and on my way to get it. Yet I pause in the darkness and unlock my phone. Words fail me.
He tells me almost in a conversational tone that the picture above is his leg right now. That an unopened Maltina bottle was smashed on it. I can’t breathe. I’m gasping for air. How? How could this possible have happened?
Then he tells me he made a mistake. Nothing major, just a mistake. A little mix up, nothing that couldn’t be sorted out. Yet, he took one look at him and wordlessly smashed the bottle on his leg. By now I’m sitting on the steps leading to the entrance while mosquitoes make a halo above my head. Then I am crying and he is too. And I am apologetic. But his leg doesn’t need apologies, it needs care.
I rush home early that week. I can not remember what I ate for dinner that night, or if I even ate at all. I can not remember if I went to classes the next day, or the day after. All I remember is that I am crying. And I am sorry he is in so much pain. No one deserves that.
I am flinching now. Some memories are buried but maybe nostalgia? Or maybe it is my awaiting destination that calls upon long forgotten memories. I’m closer now, but I have not encountered anyone on my way yet. For this, I am thankful. I can not speak of what I’m about to do lest I be stopped. I’ve worked up the courage. I can not stop now. I let the memories drip into every crack of my mind and find myself letting them envelope me again.
I have not slept. It is morning yet I still can not find sleep so I watch you sleep. You are tired, I can tell, but these days you are always tired. Your skin makes an interesting contrast against the sheets, dark and light. I was reading but have set my phone down as I found myself reading the same line twice. I think you are one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen. Like art in a gallery. But the masterpiece that outshines all the rest despite the effort put into others.
I am terrified. Terrified that this moment will pass and be lost forever. So I mentally bookmark it for future perusal. I want to whisper to you how much you mean to me yet I fear I’ll awaken you. As if you know, you stir and I sidle close to you and rest my head against yours. You wake up fully now and smile. Then the moment passes and is lost forever.
Then it is time for you to leave. And I make you promise to look after yourself. You shrug me off and dismiss my worries. I am left standing behind a wooden door and taking air conditioned air into my lungs while I try not to cry.
Thirteen hours later you tell me you have an accident. Sixteen hours later and I am back in hell.
I am beginning to shiver now. The rain still has not stopped. If I did not know better, I would say it was trying to discourage me. I discard the sweater and leave it in a heap on the side of the road while I stride on past like it is the most normal think in the world being under the rain. The skin is occasionally lit up as lightening strands snake their way across the night sky.
Ah… Memories oh memories. They are all I have tonight to keep me company and I am not lonely. Just weary. So once again I let them have their way.
He calls my name and I know. I just know. I know something is wrong and what it is yet I do not know what is wrong yet. Sixth sense perhaps, premonition maybe? I join the rest of them by the window and watch as another suitcase joins the red one outside. I am stunned. Still, I know, I’ve always known. Four pairs of eyes are looking up at me, urging me to do something, anything. I am the older one so perhaps they are right to. I wish like I sometimes find myself wishing that I had someone to look up to as well.
I go outside and they follow me tentatively waiting for me to make the next move. I say not one word. Not even when she tells me about the letter she had left for her husband. Or while she pretends to not see the tears in her youngest child’s eyes. I say not one word while she gets into the awaiting taxi and does not look back.
It’s only in January, three months later as I sit with my back against the cold wall and the room beside mine empty for the first time in years, do I cry.
I thought I would be scared. I thought I’d chicken out but I’m still going. Still getting closer to it. I sigh and sit on a sidewalk while the rain washes me. Bleaches me of all my purged emotions. I am weary, but have not far to go. Courage I suppose has never been something I’ve had in surplus. But I can not change my mind now.
So I walk again while my old friend, Memory holds my hand.
I’m laughing. It is the the kind of laugh that comes somewhere deep inside you and leaves you with a goofy smile afterwards. I can not remember laughing this deep for a long while. It feels good. I don’t know how you do it, you just do without an effort. You make me happy always without trying.
What took me so long? You were there, always there yet somehow I didn’t notice. Or maybe I did but was too distracted to focus on it. I wish I had known earlier. But there is no better time to start something, something even as big as falling in love with someone than now.
Later I fall asleep beside you and think how wonderfully wicked the world can be giving you what you want when you have become tired of hoping. As sleep encompasses me and I float of soft white clouds I think how long can your heaven last, how long until you leave? But I remember your words, the ones you spoke thrice, telling me you’d be here until I push you away.
I’ve arrived. I’m standing at the middle of the bridge finally. The rain is finally letting up by the sound of hard raindrops is replaced with waves lapping. I can’t see them but I know the waters lurk beneath my feet and I am tired.
I feel him beside me before I see him. His face is passive and his skin a scaly mass of red. Then he nods toward the direction of the edge and I leap over while his voice fills my head telling me this is my only option. I do not think of what I have left behind, I have said my goodbyes.
The last thought I have is wondering why he has no horns like all the stories say.