We waited patiently for rain to arrive, but that night (or was it morning already?) — it did not. We know what is to come because the sky has been threatening us for days. Only, now, there is no other sound. We waited, in vain, because we had nothing to say. Silence scared us.
I would be lying if I said I remember those hours like it was yesterday. I do not. I could only grasp bits and pieces, and fiction often bears too much resemblance to fact for me to tell the difference. Perhaps, there is none, or it does not matter.
Some things, though, you could not scrap from memory. They lay untouched, unfazed by time and losing count of how much of it has passed. The scent of your hair, a mixture of musk and workday sweat. Your calloused fingertips, circling my palm, as if to trace my fate. The way your voice, though reduced to a whisper, still managed to block out the sound of the city struggling to evade sleep, as you sang me a song about stars and waves.
I could remember your gasp, that sharp intake of breath. After, you laid your head upon my chest, listening for that pause in between heartbeats. I like to put it this way rather than saying you simply fell asleep. For a while, I watch you, assured of your nearness by the rise and fall of your breathing. I could not see, but I know, you are here. I could hear.
The blandness of the world when we stepped out in the open. The unwritten rule, the unspoken agreement: we will never speak of this again. The harsh glare of fluorescent lights welcomed us back, but the walls shook with condemnation. We rejoined reality too soon, but perhaps, it’s time.
I follow your footsteps as you hurry out. It was always the darkest before dawn, they say. You and I though, we are in a perpetual state of evening. I wonder what it’s like seeing you in broad daylight, flaws and all. I wonder where your words come from when you are not drunk, when you are not spewing borrowed lines from poets just because you are yet to come up with those of your own.
You haven’t lived enough, you like to say. You are incapable of feeling, I respond.
We cross the deserted highway without a word. You do not even hold my hand, you do not even cast me a glance. You are not here anymore, are you?
Headlights flood our vision. The sound of wheels screeching to a halt bounce off every inch of this boulevard. Here it is, the last contact. I am whisked away. When I look back, the highway stands alone, perhaps it always did. I am lost.
Somebody turned on the lights. Daybreak. Day, break, broke. All at once, we can see everything all over again. We pretend nothing happened. We pretend we never really wanted more.
Beds are creaking as my brothers toss and turn upon my arrival. They know nothing of the fires we put out, the scars that will remain. They are badges of honor now, as if possession was as easy, as simple as this.
I get into bed, minutes away from slumber, energy long gone. You took it away and named it yours. Perhaps by now, you have forgotten.
We cast distance off as evil only after we realize the dangers of proximity. It leaves us wanting – needing – more. The void inside grows, persists, endures. Outside, evening finally surrenders to day. The roosters announce betrayal.
The first few drops of rain arrive. The stillness comes to an end. For a while, I forget, too. I watch the upheaval of the sky.
We could not say we did not know this was coming.
And then, a storm. I have long jumped, both feet in, and drowned.