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Fantasy Romance Mystery

I used to love rain. It was hard to hate something so beautiful. I used to believe it was impossible to hate something beautiful. 

That is laughable now. Beautiful things are the ones that hurt the most. 

The ones that cut deeper than anything. Like a Rose in a garden. So beautiful, so inviting. Yet when you get close enough to the blooming bud, nothing good happens. Your hand brushes a thorn, and you are in pain, bleeding. Yet the beautiful rose stares back at you. 

Perhaps that is where it gets its color, its beauty, from the unsuspecting victims that have no idea they are about to be pricked

Rain makes me think of him. 

Of course, it makes me think of him, everything does. But sometimes I can go days without thinking about him. I could go months, and not one thought passes through my mind.

Then the rain comes, and all the memories come rushing back.

The day I was a young girl picking dangerous flowers, and he was a boy watching the clouds.

I was nine when I first encountered the dangers of a pretty face. 

“What are you doing?”  I had asked the boy in the way of my flower picking. I knew my fingers were bleeding a bit, but I didn’t mind. I wanted the flowers. 

My nan always said all the things worth it hurt a little bit.

“Do you see the rabbit eating that plum?” He asked.

“Rabbits don’t eat plums.”

“That is the beauty of it.”

He confused me. It had to show on my face because he patted the space next to him. Just to prove him wrong, I laid down next to him. I stared at his profile, ready for him to explain himself.

“Watch the clouds, not me.”

Huffing, I turned my attention from him to the sky.

I saw it, a rabbit eating a plum. 

“It’s written in the sky, so it must be true. My mother claims so.” He said after a moment.

Well, I didn’t want to tell him his mother was wrong, it was impolite.  “That’s a nice thing to think.”

He laughed, and for some reason, I did too. We laughed on our backs until tears streamed down our faces, even then we continued to laugh. Only giving pause when the sky started to laugh just as hard. Loud booming laugh, and then the sky also started crying.

My father shouts for me in the distance. A woman, I later learn is his mother, shouts for him.

My dress is wet, and my hair is brown tar, plastered to my face and neck. 

Yet he doesn’t look as wet as I am. He looks dry.

He grins as if he is sharing a secret with me. Before I can question him, he is running off.

Shrugging, I turned to run towards my father. I told him all about the flowers I picked, and my new friend.

***

I was twelve the next time I saw him. I had forgotten about that odd day three years before.

Shopping with my nan was a horrible chore.  She said I needed new shoes for church, though the ones she was forcing my feet into were too small. 

“They hurt too much”, I told her.  She replied, “That must mean, they are worth it.”

Frowning, I kicked off the offending shoes, moving to the window, watching the rainfall.

“Want to play a game?”

I jumped at the close voice, turning I saw him.

Cinnamon-colored hair no more, bright turquoise waves cascade down his back; But it was him, I just knew it.

“What game?”

A grin. One that I had forgotten about until that very moment. One sharing something I didn’t quite understand.

“Pick a raindrop, and I’ll pick one, whichever one, reaches the bottom first wins.”

I’ve played this game before, with my younger cousins, but he seemed so happy to explain that too, so I nodded.

“I picked this one.”

“Why?”

“It looks like a winner.”

“If you say so.”

He picked. We watched in hushed excitement as the raindrop made their way down the window. His one for the first game, mine the next. We decided not to play a third. 

“Whoever wins, the other would be sad, and that’s no fun,” he said, grabbing my hand leading me out of the store.

“We can’t. I don’t want to ruin my hair.”

“Hair is meant to be ruined; my mother says so.” It was a ridiculous thing to say, why would his mother say that? I almost told him that, but that would be rude.  I followed him out of the store, into the downpour.

“May I have this dance, milady?”  

“Why of course, kind sir.” I played along.

We danced around in the rain for what felt like hours, though it couldn’t have been that long. I watched him as we danced. How joyous he looked. I’ve never seen someone so happy to be in rain. I hadn’t been this happy in the rain since our first meeting.

“What is your name?” I had to know the name, so I could write about it in my diary tonight. Tell all my friends about it.

“You already know.” He replied.

“Well, that just isn’t true,” I said.

“I don’t lie, not to you.”

I opened my mouth, ready to tell him how unfair he was being. Of course, he could lie to me, I wouldn’t know, but nan was calling for me. I looked down at my soaking dress.  I was in a lot of trouble. I turned to ask if he would be in trouble as well, but he was gone.

I did write about him when I got home that night. I wrote pages about the boy whose name was known but unspoken.  I wrote down all the possible names, but none made sense. 

I decided to keep him to myself, I wasn’t ready to share him with my friends.

***

It was supposed to be my first date. All my friends had gone on one and it was finally my turn. At fifteen, most girls had already kissed a boy, but I didn’t want to kiss anyone. Though I had to, everyone else has. And I was supposed to be like everyone else.

My date was supposed to meet me at the restaurant. My father was apprehensive to leave me, but I told him how embarrassing it would be if he stayed, so he left, and I waited.

And waited and waited.

“Hey, look. A rabbit eating a plum.”

“That is impossible.”

“Really? I once saw it written in the sky, so it was written, so it is true.”

I laughed, looking over at him. He was taller, though so was I. He looked less like the boy I met as a child, more like a man now. But I still knew it was him, His hair was just as if the last time I saw him, but the color had changed once again. Now the locks were lilac, but the grin was still the same.

“Show me this rabbit, then.” I challenged.

He held out his hand, and I took it happily. He guided me towards the forest. It wasn’t too late, the sun just lazily making its way across the sky, so I could see perfectly. We came to a clearing edge. He tugged my hand down, pointing to the middle of a clearing.

There resided at least a dozen or so rabbits, all seeming to enjoy their dinner. And one rabbit, farthest away from the others, was chowing down on a plum. I laughed, too loudly as the rabbits all spooked and took off. All but one.

“There is no way you saw that from the restaurant.”

“And yet I did.”  He had to be lying to me, and then I remember he said he didn’t lie to me, so I let myself believe the impossible.

We moved into the clearing. The rabbit, the one eating the plum, glanced at us but didn’t run. 

 “What an odd rabbit,” I commented as we laid down once we reached the center.

“Odd that he isn’t afraid? That isn’t odd, it’s bravery.”

I rolled my eyes, even after so many years in between our meetings, I was used to how odd he was. Though I suppose I didn’t mind it. In fact, I missed it.

“Why do you always run off? Why does it take so long until I see you again?”

“Asking questions must be exhausting.”

“Answering them must be torturing.”

He frowned, “Don’t be upset.”

“Then answer my questions.”

“My answer won’t satisfy you.”

“And your silence does?”

He didn’t reply, which only frustrated me more.

And then the rain started, but neither of us reacted. The rain washed over us and for once, he was just as wet as I was.

“I think it is best if I go,” he said standing up.

I blinked up at him. I didn’t want him to go, but I was taught never to beg a man to stay.

“No comment? You are right, silence is not satisfying.” He combed his fingers through his hair before offering me his hand.

I took it. Standing silently, unsure of what to do. He pulled me close, and we started to sway. We started to dance.

The rain sang a familiar tune. One with no words, but we both knew by heart.

We danced close together, in silence. The silence was so loud that I had to drown it out.

“So, I think I figured out the mystery of your name,” I proclaimed grinning up at him.

“Was it a mystery? I believe I told you that you already knew it.” He said matching my grin with one of his own.

“Either way, I believe I know it.”

“Then tell me.”

“First, do you know my name?” I’ve never told him, and he’s never said it.

“I know yours as you know mine.”

I hated when he spoke like that, in riddles.

“Your name is Skye. I imagine it with an e at the end, though it isn’t important.”

He laughed, “What a beautiful name, I am sad that it isn’t mine.” 

I laughed along with him, though I was disappointed that I had guessed wrong.

“Don’t worry, you’ll get it one day.”

“Or you could tell me.”

“But you already know.”

I left it at that, enjoying our dance. My date long forgotten; I would have had fun anyways. I would take this over anything else.  Dancing in the rain with him was magical.

We danced until I could no longer make out his face in the dark, only his hair remained visible. As if it was glowing, and then I noticed he wasn’t wet anymore. I didn’t ask, I filed it away as another impossible thing to believe.

I don’t remember falling asleep, only waking up to pressure on my chest. Opening my eyes, I look into the red eyes of a rabbit. The rain had cleared up. I didn’t need to look next to me to know that I was alone.

“I will call you Skye, with an e at the end,” I said to the rabbit, taking him under my arm as I stood. “Hopefully my father isn’t too upset with me,” I said to Skye as I ventured out of the forest.

                                               ***

I grew up a lot in the time between my visits with him, though none more than between my first date and our next one. I finished school, started dating a man, got engaged to a man.

A woman’s wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of her life. It’s the day we have been planning since we were children. We count down until we are engaged and then count down until we walk down the aisle. That was not the case with me. I haven’t been planning this day since I was a child. I was not counting down the days.

I was excited, but only for the day to finally be over. I wanted nothing more than to take off the dress and shoes. My nan was buzzing around happily. Going on about how happy my mother would be if she could see me. I wanted to say, she’s dead and she couldn’t and won’t see me. But I bit my tongue. “I need some air,” I said instead. I didn’t wait for a reply, I stood cuffing my train and walked out. The church was big, lovely even, but I didn’t care about it.   I made my way towards the back garden but didn’t walk into it. I didn’t want to ruin my dress.

“You know, I never understood why the wedding day is the happiest day of a woman's life. Why not a man? Who marries someone that isn’t happy to see you?”

I didn’t respond to the voice. 

“Ah, cat got your tongue?”

“Ten years.”

“Come again.”

“It’s been ten years since I last saw you. You left me in that clearing and then nothing.” 

I wasn’t upset when he left, it was his specialty after all. But going so long without seeing him hurt. After a few years, I assumed I would never see him again. I mourned my friend. And yet here he was as if no time had passed.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t think you would be hurt by my absence.”

I scoffed, finally dragging my eyes over to him.

He was a man now. Of course, he always seemed to age with me. I’m a woman now.  His hair was back to his cinnamon color, short like a tuft of fur on my rabbit’s tail.

“You are my best friend.”

“I wasn’t aware.”

“I needed you.”

“No, you didn’t”

“Why are you here?”

“You need me now.”

I scoffed, shaking my head. “I am about to marry, why do I need you?”

He was unfazed by my rude words. “Let’s dance.” He grabbed my hand.

I didn’t object, walking to the garden with him. My train would be muddied but I didn’t like it anyways.

“There is no music,” I pointed out, just to have something to say.

The words had barely left my mouth when the sky opened. I wasn’t surprised.

“There is our song.” 

I looked at him again.

“I wanted to see you sooner, but you didn’t need me. It wasn’t time.”

“What makes today different?”

“You need me here. You came out here looking for me did you not?”

He was right, but this wasn’t the first time I looked for him. Whenever I was down or afraid, I searched for him.

“I know your name now.”

“Really? What is it?

“Damien.” It was a name I picked out of nowhere.

There was silence between us for a moment. 

And then we were laughing.  Raucous laughter that melted away the years we’ve been apart.

“Sorry, but you are wrong,” he said between laughs.

“Really? darn.” 

We continued dancing and laughing around the garden. My dress, once white, now a muddy brown mess. Yet I didn’t care. I never cared about anything when we were together.

All too soon, I heard my nan calling me. The smile left my face, as I turned towards her face.

“If you are unhappy, don’t marry him.”

I turned back around staring at him.

“Be happy, don’t settle.”

And then he walked away leaving me alone in the rain.

***

I didn’t marry that day. I never married. 

I didn’t want to settle, I wanted more.

I was thirty when I realized I wanted him, that I loved him.

So, I waited for him, every time it rained, I danced in it, waiting for my partner.

He never came.

I hated the rain.

At forty-five, I decided I wasn’t going to look for him, that I wouldn’t think of him.

When I turned sixty, I was given the worst gift, Cancer.

The next day, I wished to see him again, I wished to hear our song and dance with him.

On my sixty-second birthday, I knew it was the end. 

I sat at the window, watching the rain. It was a beautiful day.

One moment I was at the window and the next, I was outside. I was dancing for the first time in decades.

It was a good last day.  I was okay with it being my last.

Laying on my back, I grinned as the rain showered down on him.

“What a beautiful song.”

I didn’t open my eyes. I didn’t speak. My ears must have been playing tricks on me.

“It would be a shame not to dance.”

I opened my eyes. 

And there he was. Older like me, gray-haired and all.  I laughed; our hair matched for the first time. 

“Took you long enough,” I said, taking his hand.

“It wasn’t time.”

I didn’t ask for clarification.

I just laid my head on his shoulder, dancing.

“Runaway with me.”

I looked up at his face. 

“I am serious, it is time.”

I was lost for words.

“The rain is our song, and the sky holds the answers.” He tilted my chin upwards, and I laughed when I saw the clouds.

There were two people, one in a wedding dress, running, laughing as they held hands.

A memory, my last happiest day, though one that didn’t happen like that.

And suddenly I was back there, my wedding date.

“Well, the sky has spoken,” I said looking back at him.

“So, it must be true.” He finished taking my hand and we ran.

In the rain, laughing, together. And as we ran, we were no longer old, no longer adults.

 We were a young girl in a soaking wet dress and a boy that liked the clouds.

“What’s happening?” I asked.

“Believe in the impossible.”

“I believe in you, Rain.”

He smiled, squeezing my hand.

“I’ll never leave you again, Rose.”

September 23, 2021 18:35

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1 comment

Mg Singh
20:04 Sep 30, 2021

A lovely painful story leaves a lump in your heart.

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