Saturday, June 14, 2014

What the Weatherman Did Not Say

For the first time, the weatherman was right. Exactly three hours after he delivered his weather forecast over the radio — his voice a guttural baritone permeating the static, punctuating his report with his usual sigh as though time and again he knows beforehand the mistake he is about to make — it began to rain that early Sunday morning, the sudden drumming on the roof the sky’s affirmation of his report, insisting itself on the rusty metal sheets overhead like a million hurried nods gestured before dawn so that, to my mind, the deluge can evade the warmth of sunlight and prove him in the darkness that he was right, as though his prediction was something to be ashamed of, something better kept hidden in the gloom, a belated attempt to begrudge him of this one small but momentous truth in his life, because for once he is finally correct, and for which now I must pay the price.

There was nothing in the previous night that suggested the coming of rain. There was a calm in the air, gently ushering the whispers of the leaves beneath the moonlight. The crickets sang their ode in intervals. I sat on the gnarled roots of the acacia, its dense foliage blocking the stars, and as I let my thoughts wander it felt like I was patiently waiting in the shadow of a memory big enough to eclipse the sun. Only much, much later did it rain. Although the weatherman finally got it right, there were other things he did not say.

Of all things, the weatherman did not say exactly why it had to rain today. He did not say why it had to when he should have known by now that a weather like this, a downpour as unforgiving as any storm quite like this, only reminds me of the girl, of the only confession I was willing to risk that afternoon I held her hand had my brain refused to stand in the way of my heart, and of what could have been between us but which now will never be.

The weatherman did not say precisely why it had to rain the whole day. He did not say why it had to when the warmth from the sun may just as well take the place of the sympathy I need to help me get by, to live this day as if it was a new chapter in another book, less estranged from reality, and far more sensible than the girl’s “No” when I asked her if she ever wished for the clouds to steer clear and always give way to the sun, to which she said “I’d rather wish for rain. I love the rain,” and when I asked her “Why?” she just kept walking and said nothing more. But not once, never, have I seen her want to bask in the rain. She always had an umbrella, or a raincoat, would step aside and seek shelter at the first sign of nimbus. What she loves, she does not want to be a part of — replace the “What” with “Who” and the difference may just as well be the same.

It did rain. It rained all of a sudden, without warning, as though the ocean was dropping from the sky, unscheduled, perhaps not even by god, and that day as with all the other days the weatherman did not say why. I sat by the open window, staring blankly at the silhouettes turning grey, as if the rain was slowly erasing them from view. I kept looking at nothing in particular, as though I was searching for the answer caught behind a thick curtain of needles impaling the ground, because maybe the rain had a better intention than to simply drown me in my reverie. And I remember the question popping in my mind, quick as the rain on that afternoon long ago, the girl standing beside me under the awning of the cafeteria, observing the flowers in the garden a little ahead as though they were the only ones left to be seen in the rain. Then I held her hand. She smiled but she did not look at me. The words were clawing their way from my heart to my lips: “I think I love you, do you love me too?” but just when I was ready to speak, my brain stood in the way of my heart. You’ll lose her if you tell her that, my brain said. I let my chance pass. I let it slip away. In five minutes, the rain was gone. Perhaps my courage went with it.

Why it had to rain today, the weatherman did not say — just like the girl, for when she left for another country before the end of the second semester, she, too, did not say why. Not a letter. Not a note. Not a word. Not a sigh. Only three years after was I told that she had gone to Japan. Somewhere in Japan. “That’s all I know,” my friend said, giving me a pat on my shoulder at the end of the graduation rites, as if to remind me of the weight of the burden I now had to carry, ending my life in college with a yoke on my heart. So it goes, brain, so it goes: I did not tell her that I love her, and I did not ask her if she loved me, too, and yet I lost her anyway. That late afternoon I ran under the rain, my toga flapping in the wind, my shoes drenched, my eyes more so. I ran as fast as I could, not knowing where to go. It did not matter where my feet would take me. It felt like anywhere was as good as any place to lose myself.

And so the weatherman did not say why the clouds have to be cruel first thing in the morning, like a thousand scythes striking my heart before I can have my breakfast if only because my body can feel only half of the hunger in my soul; as if it was their job to drag me back to the past the same day I was ready to let go, returning me to my proper place in the universe without explaining why; as if heaven and all its saints conspired to mock my solitude, the sinner that I have become without her, and deprive me of the freedom I think I rightfully deserve, not because I have suffered long enough, my penance having been spent on eleven years of nothing but regrets, but simply because I still have a life to live. For the hundreds of times that the weatherman was wrong, forecasting rain when there happened to be none at all, and for which I believed him through and through, much to my dismay, he did not say why he had to be right today.

But I think I know why: sorrow is its own surprise.

1 comment:

kae said...

So here's the question: who would you choose, the girl you love more than anyone else, or the girl who loves you more than anyone else? Stupid question, right, cus I think I already know the answer.
My Mom always told me to always choose the person who loves you. Even if you don't feel the same way because in no time, you will learn to love that person.
But we tend to choose the one we love, not the one who loves us.
Sometimes it doesn't make sense and it's sad but i dunno i guess when its your turn to be happy, the sadness you felt will be worth it all