Rushali is the author of two short story collections called Unexpected Encounters and Until We Meet Again.
The winter had passed leaving behind another season of new beginnings and possibilities. The spring had brought rain along. The tiny drops descended on the ground: at first drenching the fallen leaves, then seeping into the grass. She sat on the wooden bench with an umbrella in hand; the pitter patter of the rain on the umbrella never reached her preoccupied ears. Kiss the rain, a piano piece by Yiruma was playing through her earphones. She swayed her head, blinking in sync with the changes in tune.
It was beautiful.
It is beautiful that humans can appreciate the beauty of the unknown.
There was so much that went into making this piece but her mind was blank. The view before her was all that mattered; all that she could see and all there was. There was only so much the umbrella could do; it was as if a line was drawn. The jeans soaked in rain below the edges of the umbrella, she felt uncomfortable but the piece had not come to an end and the rain still drizzled.
It is about perception. It doesn't matter as long as I do not care.
She looked on at the green grass that covered a mile before her. The familiar scent of the rain, she took a deep breath. The brittle yellow leaves on the ground had now turned soft at the touch of water, the cloudy skies were turning blue and the withered leaves of the trees left by winter were finding new hope.
Everything changes. Everything is changing.
The piece stopped playing and the distraction had come to an end. She looked at the phone. Yet another fifth of April, yet another evening.
How long do I plan on doing this?
Her mind was not blank anymore. The bench, the refreshing ray of sunlight that had managed to make its way through the clouds, the trees that glimmered in the sunlight. She took off her earphones. Tears trickled down her cheeks. She looked beside her. The still unfamiliar sight of an empty bench, the brittle yellow leaves that had managed to take shelter under her umbrella lay crisp.
At least some things stand the test of time. I was not always alone.
She wiped the tears from her face with the back of her sleeve. Until We Meet Again, the book cover had drops of rain all over, like tiny magical crystals that engulfed the view before her. The sun gleamed bright now, reflecting within the tiny ball of water on the book. She rested the umbrella at the foot of the bench, taking the book in hand and wiping the water off.
You wouldn't read it to me like back then. It has been five years. So why can't I let you go?
The sun disappeared and it turned dark. Thunder rumbled in a distance. He would sit by her side, reading the book at the bench in our garden. The shade above their heads, she would still be lost listening to music. She stole quick glances from time to time. He would smile through the corner of the book. His white skin would shine when the sun came out after the rain. She would run her hands along his blonde hair as he sat immersed in the book. A tiny smile swept over her face. She looked down at her shoes. It was his.
Should I not have bought you new shoes, would you not have run so far away? I regret it, Ken.
She melted into her palms, sniffling and crying not loud enough to be heard not soft enough to be unheard. The rain had started pouring again. She didn't bother to grab the umbrella or avoid the rain. She still had her face cupped in her palms, the yellow brittle leaves that stood the test of time drenched in the rain. She drenched in the rain. Behind her a bouquet rested in front of the tombstone. One that was not beautiful. Bound together by tiny twigs, a rose, tulips and chrysanthemums.
The flowers from the garden you loved very much. The flowers you wanted to see bloom. A tomorrow you wanted to see. A tomorrow you will never see. I want to let you go. I will hope for a tomorrow where I have let you go. A tomorrow I hope will never come.