I do not see that young man very often anymore.
There once was a time where he would sit on the rooftop, a notebook in his hand and a pen wedged between his lips. Behind the shield of his lips was where he would bite needlessly on the plastic, twisting and bending it out of shape. Until it was replaced by a new one. Each pen of different color, different brand or size. He liked variety. I like variety.
He liked animals. I like animals.
He liked rain. I do not like rain.
I was left on this rooftop, bleeding, in the rain. No one reported my body. No one cared. Rain has always been against me.
But this young man...
Each day he was accompanied by a small cat, one that was fluffy and rather moody as she prowled the perimeters of the roof. The cat had come very close to me, once even circling my feet with a questioning look. She was smart, staying away from me after a few testing mewls. Then she returned back to her master's lap, curling into a purring ball.
Each day, he would walk up the winding steps of the apartment building, his notebook nestled under his arm and his gaze cast downward. He would allow his cat to walk outside first, then closing the door behind himself. He would survey the expanse of concrete and old, wilted flowers before sitting down and opening that worn notebook.
He was an old soul, one that did not speak. That spoke volumes in itself. As the months went on, shockingly, he slowly started telling me stories. I do not know if they were part of his journal, or simply of his ventures that extended far beyond my domain of the roof. I never dared to look. I think it's a breach of privacy and a lady never intrudes. Then again, I had no business listening to his personal ideations.
Though I think he knew I was there.
An attractive young fellow, one with brown curls and a sharp, likeable face. Deep brown eyes fitted with scopes of gold, his nose a clean line of chiseled art. His clean fingers and skillful hands motioned with his words, his darkly tanned skin glowing with the arcs of sunshine. He would get this sheepish look to him when he spoke of people, which gave me the impression that he was most likely blushing beneath that brown exterior. He spoke of a lot of people, but of this place where they would all meet and learn. School, I had pondered, but said nothing. He spoke of a school much bigger than the one I went to in my earlier years. None of this mattered. It was not like he would hear me.
All of his stories were told as I roamed the dead garden. His tone would not falter, his words as fluid as his writing hands. His emotions were so very real, amusing to watch and pleasing to my yearning eyes. I had not seen such charisma and charm in my many years. Some stories did not catch me, and flowed from one ear to the other with no passing knowledge. They were not worth my time. Of course, he had many stories that struck me as simply bizarre. They ground me to a spot on the patio, and I would listen to him for hours on end. I would think, question, realize, and accept as he talked and talked. His soothing voice had me enchanted. Then he would leave, and I would think about the details all the rest of the night.
Although, I remember this one day. It had been raining. I was huddled under an umbrella older than my father, I'm sure, clutching my dress.
I do not like rain. Rain is how I lost my life. Rain is how I ended up here. Watching instead of interacting.
He bustled up the stairs, much different from his usual quiet and reserved demeanor. He had shoved open the door, then ran into the pouring rain. I wanted to reach out, to stop him, but I knew I could not stop a rolling carriage.
He burst into the downpour, spinning around. He seemed overjoyed, his smile bright against the gray hues of the city. His brown hair was drooping with the dewy wetness, the water sliding off his skin like butter. Collecting in fat, warm drops like hungry babies before rolling away. I watched him with curious eyes and a blank mind.
His joyous cry broke through the silence of the evening. It was beautiful. He was speaking, saying something that I knew would have been amazing. I would have congratulated him had I been able to hear him. He was yelling about things like essays and admissions, things I had never heard of in my life. Granted it has been a long one, I had never heard of those words.
In my stupor, he looked in my direction, his hands clasped in a prayer like stance as he smiled at me. I could see the words on his lips, falling off his tongue like a truth he had been waiting to tell me. Me.
"Thank you!" He finally screamed over the rain. The sound rattled in my ears and my heart. "I got in! Thank you!"
I bowed at the waist, a rather disrespectful gesture but he didn't seem to mind. I could not speak, I could not think. I could not fathom the words he spoke. As I struggled to find words, if he could even hear me, he smiled more and stepped closer.
Back away, I wanted to tell him. Do not touch me. He did not stop his pursuit and instead did the most foolish yet marvelous thing:
He pulled me from under the awning.
His skin was warm, the warmest thing I've ever felt. The umbrella had fallen from my hands, clattering against the concrete. I gasped as he spun me around with surprising strength. My dress was soaked, but I would not let that disperse the problem at hand:
He could touch me.
You cannot touch the dead. You cannot touch me.
The dead cannot touch the living. I cannot touch you.
I broke away from him, stuttering many excuses before settling on a heart-wrenching sob that was ripped ferociously from my chest. The shaking breaths that ravaged my body were new; I had not felt such strong emotions in years. He held me closer, the beating of his heart so terribly soothing to the stillness of my own.
"I think you should become friends with the rain." He said in my ear, his smile tangible. "It holds so many blessings."
"But ruins so many lives."
"Yet saves so many at the same time." He countered easily. Finally, he stood back, smiling so softly. His clear cut face was and still is one of the most lavish sights I've ever set my eyes upon. He gave me a bow, then disappeared into the door.
Now, when I look at the rain, I see his face. I hope he is happy, I hope he is well.
Now I let the rain move me. I let the rain drive me. Because the rain has ruined so many lives. But saved so many as well.