Rainy evenings make me feel blue. But don’t get me wrong. I love the rain. I love the sound of it against the rooftops. And I love how it cools this tropical world. But there’s something very sad about it. Like the world is crying.
When I was twelve, there was this special place in my school that I went to to be alone and to write. It was a small room filled with things that the school didn’t need anymore. It was a bit dark. But light came from a small square window near the ceiling. Inside, there was a small stool and an old dusty mahogany table. These, along with some broken brooms, a chalk box with nothing in it, two wooden eraser cleaners, and the scattered coconut husks on the floor, kept me company.
Staying in my small silent space made me feel like the universe collapsed all over me and expanded at the same time. And this profound moment only became more profound when it rained.
It rained that one afternoon I went there. I was young and I was in love. He was the boy who had devoured all my writings and seemed to love them. He was the boy who would join me by the classroom window whenever I went there to count cars and jeepneys during lunch break. And he laughed at me for doing so. He was the boy I talked to often. He even called me his best friend. And he loved making me laugh. He loved being with me. But he never loved me, it seems.
It was raining that afternoon in December. We were by the classroom window, and we were exchanging gifts for Christmas. And he had on a bright smile as he handed me a small red box. In return, I gave him a letter. In the letter, I thanked him for his friendship and for the countless times he read my stories. In the letter, I also told him that I was feeling something for someone, and that the feeling was so strong it had become difficult to contain it. He asked me who this person was. And I said, “It’s you. And these feelings are all for you.”
And it was the happiest thing in the world to be able to tell him, to finally set free all those feelings I kept bottled up inside. But then, he looked down, and the smile he had on was instantly wiped from his face. “Christine,” he said. “I think Christine is the right girl for me… I’m sorry.” I gave him the best smile I could muster and said, “Yeah! I knew that! You should go after her. I think she might be leaving the school at this very minute.” I left him there by the window. He didn’t come after me.
I went to my secret place and didn’t cry. I just knew it. I was twelve. I was his best friend and not more than that. And it hurt like hell to not be the right girl.