The rain swooped down upon my face, and stung my eyes as I crept out of my house into the cold night air. My feet filtered across the driveway pavement, as the cold burnt into my toes. The rain entangled between the winds, heaved itself upon my body as I began to walk down the hill towards the bush lands.
I wrapped my bare arms tightly around myself, trying to find the best position to shield my body from the cold. My jagged breathing didn't supply my lungs with the life source they argued for.
Was I crying? Or was it the water from above?
I reached the edge of the bush, and moved from the road to the soil, which pushed and squeezed its way through my toes. A soggy mix of dirt and water. I walked on, and entered the sanctuary.
If the twigs scratched my arms, I was too numb to tell.
Slipping through the trees to the place that I knew so long ago.
Are you there?
I felt so tired…
Where did you go?
But I can't sleep.
But I can't breathe.
You lied to the ones you said you loved.
It wasn't until the moment that a sob pulled itself from my chest, that I realised I was crying. I blindly threw my hands out in search for support. My fingers found a thin tree, which I pulled towards me, and dug myself into. I could feel it in front of me… the cliff that looked over the valley. The cliff that overlooked our valley.
I forced my legs to stop shaking enough to walk on. I stumbled to the very edge of the cliff, and dropped. I sat, curled into myself, watching the clouds loom over the dreary, night valley. The rain didn't stop. The winds pushed harder.
Thunder lashed out at my ears, making me shriek, and pull my head into my knees. I clutched my fingers into my hair, and let the sobs spill from my chest.
"Daddy?!" The girl cried, jolting the man awake. His eyes focused onto his daughter, who was crawling to join him on the bed. The light from the streetlamp outside shone onto her face, highlighting the tears staining her small, crumpled cheeks. Her tears were expected on nights like this.
"Shhh… hey…" he whispered as she sobbed, and buried herself between his arms. "You know the thunder can't hurt you…". He moved his hand towards her chin, and lifted it high, pushing the tears from her young face with his thumb.
"Just show me that pretty smile of yours." He told her. "Just smile at the rain. It won't seem so frightening. Just smile."
The little girl I've tried to forget screamed her way through the maze. My mind has found her in its race to leave her. The maze won't let me abandon her. But is that all I do? Smile? Is that all there is too it?
So that's what I did. I loosened my grip on my scalp, pulled my head high, and forced my cheeks upwards. As soon as my face reached the smile it fell again.
Smiling didn't help me back then. It didn't help me in the hospital waiting room. And it sure as hell don't think anything will help me now.
The drops cascaded down upon me, shaking my body. Stealing my control.
The girl walked out of her father's room, into the waiting room. The rest of her family stayed inside. She felt no need. Inside she couldn't take it anymore. But luckily she was very good at smiling when she was about to break down.
She'd just spent what could be her final moments with her father, and she wanted to leave early. That may seem wrong, but for her it seemed the only option. He wanted to talk about the good times. He wanted to talk about the memories. He tried to remind her of the times they spent on that bush cliff, over the valley. She couldn't take it.
She needed a way to calm down. She needed to be alone. "Don't let anybody see you like this…" she told herself. "Don't let anyone see you". If people saw her like this she would lose everything. The only source of light she had was the fact that people still thought she had it together… she had to keep it going… she would never let anybody see her cry.
Go to the bathroom. A small cubicle where nobody can see.
I stopped thinking. I just concentrated on my breathing. In and out. Up and down. Here and gone. The wind whipped against my wide eyes, pulling more tears.
In and Out. Up and down. Here and gone.
The family sat in the hospital. No. Not the family. It wasn't a family without him. The girl looked at her mother and two young sisters who all crumpled and wept together. She sat on the side pulling her emotions together. No tears. Smile. Smile. Smile.
She heard loud footsteps clop up the hallway at that moment. She saw a dark haired, teenage boy running towards her. Her best friend. They'd known each other all their lives, and always been close. It was no surprise for the girl that he was here.
She stood up just in time for his arms to pull her into his chest. She accepted the hug calmly. They stood there for a moment, until she stepped away.
His deep green eyes stared sorrowfully into her blue ones. He carefully brushed a stray piece of hair out her eye as he spoke.
"How are you?"
She threw the walls up immediately.
"Me? Oh I'm.. I'm fine."
The boy remained unconvinced.
"No, really. Its okay. You don't have to pretend,"
"I'm not!" she said a little too loudly. He raised his eyebrows lightly at her as they paused.
"I mean… I wouldn't say I'm perfect… but I'll get over it."
The lump in her throat was trying to creep higher, threatening to take over. She immediately threw it back by plastering a smile onto her cheeks. She forced a wispy laugh out of her chest. The boy gave her a look. A mix of confusion and irritation. There was a pause as she looked at the ground.
Then the boy spoke the words that would truly tear her walls apart:
"Why do you always have to pretend to be happy?"
The girl shot her head up in shock. The words sliced into her mind, trickling tears behind her eyes. All the walls she'd been forcing up for all these years, fell feebly at that one question. And for the first time in years, a tear crept from her eye and crawled down her cheek, leaving lifetime of protection behind.
Water came in waves from my eyes as I looked down at the moss filled rock we used to sit on together. As my body curled in slowly, trying to hide my tears from the valley.
Each drop of rain burnt into my body. Trying to push its way through. The wind flew onto me harshly, heightening the cold. It built up so quickly. Each drop falling. Landing all on me. I can't take it. I can't do it anymore. The rain comes so fast. The rain refuses to stop. The water slips down my body like cold razors building. Building. Building.
I can't do it.
Suddenly I felt a cold wet hand place itself on my shoulder. My body jerked as I shrieked and turned to see who it was.
It was him. My best friend.
My sheik echoed through the valley, fading slowly as I stared into his eyes. He bent and sat beside me, pulling me towards him. My sobs fell like the rain as I buried myself into his warm chest. I felt a security that I hadn't felt in a long time.
"The –the rain –the rain won't – stop!" I cried, throwing the words out of my body.
"Shhh" He pulled me closer and placed his lips against my forehead in a kiss.
"Its ok…" he whispered, lifting my face to his "The rain won't last forever."
My sobs slowed as our eyes seemed to dance together through the rain. The world seemed to slow to a stop as we sat together. His lips rose lightly into a genuine smile.
"The rain won't last forever."