"Déjà vous," I told myself as I discovered a letter on the pillow of my bed. It wasn't the first time I had been faced with having to read a letter so that I may know the feelings a girl has for me. To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if the letter was another rejection to add to my collection. I had to read it first though; there is no sense in assuming circumstance. I unfolded the standard computer paper that was neatly folded into thirds. The letter was as I had expected; one of rejection; nothing different than the previous four years of my life. Don't get me wrong it was still heartbreaking and the content was disheartening, but it wasn't anything I never expected, or anything I've never made it through before. It was just my annual rejection I figured by this time. The letter read:

Dear Walter,

I regret to tell you that the feelings are not mutual. You caught me way off guard. I think you are a really good person but I don't see you that way and I am sorry. I wish there was an easier way to tell you this, after all you have been a dear friend throughout these first couple years here in college, but I just don't feel the same way about you. I want us to still be friends, and I do understand that it will take some time before you feel comfortable around me again, so I will understand if you need some time before we hang out again. It is hard to tell you this and I don't mean to hurt you. Please know that I am very sorry.

Victoria Burns

"Nothing new," I convinced myself still feeling the anguish of the moment. Just because I expected to be rejected didn't mean I couldn't feel poignant at the moment. I let out a sigh, and probably would have started to cry at that moment if my door wasn't being unlocked and opened abruptly by my roommate.

The door thrust open with my roommate sprinting into the room. His name was Marcus, and he was very tall with large muscles. His hair was long, wavy, and blond. His eyes were a deep brown, and he was very handsome according to all the girls.

"You won't believe it we are going to the championships baby," He began wildly. "We crushed Emerson seven to nothing. Even better we get to play on our own turf, aint that exciting."

"Congratulations Marcus I'll be sure to be in attendance for that game," I cheered.

"You can't fool me Walt," he chuckled. "You go to every baseball game you get a chance to attend. You'll go watch a Little League game if you get the chance."

"What can I say?" I laughed. "I love baseball."

"It's a shame you don't play," Marcus said in a more serious tone.

"I don't have the athleticism to play at your level. I wish I did," I admitted.

"I wish you did too, we could have so much fun together."

I could tell he was trying to picture the possibilities in his head. That was the cool thing about Marcus; he may have been a big time jock, and I may be a nerd to extreme levels, but he still made it possible for us to be friends. I don't
think I've ever had a friend truer than him. We still have fun despite our differences.

"What's up with that letter on your bed hot shot?" he asked suspiciously.

I grabbed it from my bed and sighed. "Here take a look at it yourself," I said. "It isn't anything new to me."

He took the letter in his hand and read it silently. The expression on his face became sympathetic. "Wow that sucks," he stated. "At least she was nice about it though; I've seen girls be completely rude in these circumstances, not that I'd expect Victoria to be rude to you. I'm sorry dude."

"It's just another one to add to the collection," I stated monotonously.

"You've got a collection going?" he asked dumbfounded. "How many more of those kinda letters do you have?"

"Three," I admitted taking out a folder of all the most important writings I have written and received in my entire life. It had everything from poems to short stories, to chapters of a book that I plan to finish writing, and documents like Christmas, and birthday cards. I went to the area in which all of my received documents were and grabbed three more letters that contained my previous rejections.

"And why exactly are you collecting these?" he asked.

"I don't really know," I said as I thought about it. "I guess for memories sake. It'll tell the story of all the roads I've traveled to get to the point where I'll finally find the one."

I took the letter I received last year from Amber Claudel and handed it to him. She is an English major just like me. We are still good friends. "How did you take that one?"

"Her letter was actually a really hard one to get down," I admitted. "I actually thought that I had a chance that time. I was very optimistic about my first year of college. Finally I was able to escape my hometown, where I had lived my whole life and built the reputation of a really good friend, but not the kind of guy a girl would want to date. People couldn't get away from the reputation I had built up during middle school, and elementary school as the nerd.
Admittedly I was still a nerd in high school, but I had changed, and people couldn't accept that. I figured in college I would be able to express me as I had become, which I did, but I guess girls still found it to be friendly, but not attractive."

"You never know, after all you haven't met everybody here," Marcus said reassuringly.

I grabbed the next letter, which I received my senior year in high school. "This one was from my friend Samantha Cameron. You'd like her she is a really crazy girl, full of heart though; a lot of heart."

"What did you do about prom that year?" Marcus decided to concern himself.

"My good friend Billy looked all over to find me a person to bring to the prom. I told him not to worry about it and to have a good time with his girlfriend. Of course he is a force of unmatched stubbornness. He got one of his friends from another town to be my prom date."

"Talk about a dedicated friend," he said.

"Yeah he certainly is one of a kind," I replied as I looked at the last letter in my hand. This one always gave me the chills. This one was not only the first, but the one that I was most unsure of what the results would have been. I had to read it once again for myself before showing Marcus.

Dear Walter,

I am really at a loss for words right now. I guess I never quite understood what you were trying to tell me. Now I am forever going to have a hard time living this down; the fact that I don't feel the same way about you. It wouldn't be fair for me to hold back from you the love and compassion I know, you'd be capable to give me. I wish now that I could lose the feelings I have for another in exchange to obtain mutual feelings for you, unfortunately this matter is out of my hands.
You are a respectable man, although you may not know it yet. I believe that there will be someone better out there for you; a girl who could return your honorable love and make you more content than I ever will be able to. Know that I do not wish to hurt you, but I wish you more than what I have as a friend who loves you differently.
Although it is probably less painful for me to be the sender of this letter than it is for you to receive it, I grieve over the fact that this is how we have to be. I do wish to express my gratitude to you for giving me hope that I can be loved. I hope that when I find that person that they can be even just half as good to me as you have been. I will always cherish our friendship in the bottom of my heart no matter how far apart we are.
Just remember that on a day like this it could be worse; it could be raining.

Forever grateful for your compassion,

Darlene Johnson

I let a tear loose as I handed the letter over to Marcus. He examined the content thoroughly and asked me, "What does she mean by it could be raining?"

That is just something she always said when people said that it could be worse," I stated. "It always used to make me smile; she always used to make me smile; actually, if I ever saw her again she'd make me smile."

"That's still a tough pill for you to swallow I see," he said.

"Yeah," I managed to quiver.

"I'm sorry man," He mumbled.

"I'll be fine," I said more trying to reassure myself than him.

"You wanna come with me and the rest of the team to our celebration?" he asked sincerely. "I promise there will be no alcohol."

"No I have to write a paper on peripeteia use in modern literature," I lied not wanting to go because I didn't want to disgrace myself in front of anyone.

"That doesn't sound fun, well I'll leave you to do that then," he said confused. "Catch you on the flip side."

He left closing the door behind him. I paced back and forth trying to calm myself down. I had evoked old emotions that hurt down inside. How could I be so foolish as to let everything hit me all at once?

My cell phone began to vibrate in my pocket. I looked at the caller ID to see who was calling. I couldn't recognize the number for the life of me. I flipped it open not knowing what to expect.

"Hello?" I called out.

"Hi Walter," a soft spoken voice answered back. I recognized it right away.

"Darlene? Oh my goodness how are you?" I cheered trying to hide sorrow from entering my voice.

"I'm doing fine how are you?" she replied.

"Just dandy," I lied.

"You're lying," she noticed. "I know when you're lying, Walter. You know better than that."

"I guess even after a couple years I still can't hide anything from you," I sighed.

"Don't change the subject," she snapped. "What's the matter."

"Well this is rather awkward to talk about with you I mean…"

"Don't be using my own lines against me," she interrupted.

"Well I received another rejection letter for the collection today," I admitted trembling.

"Oh I'm so sorry I wasn't expecting it to be anything that serious," she apologized. "I thought it was just something like you were stressing out because you surpassed another word limit."

"It's okay Darl," I managed. "I'll move on like before."

"For how long can you keep doing that though?" she asked concerned. "You're not invincible, and I can tell you're most certainly not okay. You're brokenhearted again, that's far from okay."

"Darl, I can move past this I moved past you, didn't I?" I questioned her.

"I suppose, but I just hope you find someone soon, you deserve it."

"How about you?" I asked. "Haven't you found anybody."

"Nobody half as good as you," she admitted.

"You're not looking hard enough," I said.

"Or maybe my expectations are too high," she stated.

"That's not the case, and you know it," I said.

"No, I believe it's true," she argued. "But that wasn't the point of this conversation. I was just checking up on you because we hadn't talked in a while."

"Too long," I agreed.

"I just hope you'll be okay," she stifled a sob.

"Look Darl," I began. "You know just as well as I do that it could be worse." I smiled with anticipation of the inevitable phrase that was approaching.

On cue, without missing a beat I could picture her smile as I heard her sweet innocent voice softly say, "It could be raining."