The incessant pitter-patter of the rain broke the stillness in the room. Rivulets of water cruised down the window panes steadily creating zigzag patterns. The glistening free drops clung to the glass refusing to join the rivulets, reflecting the glow of the sun playing hide and seek between the clouds. Samar stretched himself on the couch lazily watching the scene unfolding in front of him mesmerized by it.
There was something beautiful about the rain song. The distant melody was continuous and calming, yet haunting in its steadiness. The elements outside were slowly mixing with his blood and traveling through his vein, bringing a serene lullaby in his love-struck mind. Samar saw visions of his love etched on the window.
The rivulets were caressing her profile, the gentle winds kissing her cheeks and her half-opened lips. If love could do this to anyone he wished it a hundred times over to everyone else, to sink, to float and rise in its enveloping warmth. He was afraid to move a muscle, for fear of losing the ethereal vision. He stayed in the position for what seemed an eternity, then back from his reverie he looked at the clock.
The hands of the clock seemed slow. The countdown. She had said she would meet him at six. If he could will the clock to move a tad faster; if only he had the power to change it all to make the meeting sooner yet indulging in its slowness, so it lingered on until he was smothered by it. The power of love he mumbled.
Samar fished out his black umbrella and stepped out into the rain. It poured. There was something magical in the way the big drops fell from the sky in a continuous stream. When it hit the umbrella, the drops annoyed at the obstruction, protested and rolled away. He jumped over puddles, and side-stepped in childish glee. He felt light and a heat suffused from his depths.
Was she going to wear the white dress with the little red buttons?
‘I hope she will,’ his mind said childishly. The first time he had seen her, she was wearing that and standing on the bridge on a sunny day. He had never believed in love at first sight but whatever happened to him that day couldn’t be explained. He had fallen hook-line and sinker for the apparition. Her white skirt had fluttered in the breeze. Her hair was flying all over her face as she looked at the swans gently skimming the surface of the pond. The red sash of her shirt fluttered behind her. The vision had stayed in his mind imprinted. And as they got acquainted before she had moved away. She had promised she would come back one day. Today was the day.
The street had several other people walking, jostling, with their black umbrellas and side-stepping puddles trying to stay dry. Samar lingered on looking around. As he reached the bookshop at the intersection where they had promised to meet, he folded his black umbrella and leaned against the wall; under the awning, surveying the scene before him.
People were walking around, a few running, and some standing around waiting for a bus or taxi. A sea of black umbrellas-bobbing around-unknown faces, unknown minds, unknown destinations–he was only a passive onlooker there– waiting in anticipation for that known face and warm smile. He had eyes only for his radiant, sunny goddess, his eyes searching the sea, waiting breathlessly. He knew she would come. It was only a matter of time before his prayers were answered. He unconsciously put the palm of his hands on his beating chest to calm the thumping.
Then he saw it and a spark coursed through his being. Among the sea of black umbrellas a lone red umbrella bobbed in unison, yet standing out in its vivacity and color. A glowing smile spread on his face and he chuckled. The distant red umbrella slowly made its way through the sea towards him. So far, yet so near. The warm flush of his blood pounded headily. She had kept her promise. The red umbrella was undoubtedly hers.
The person inched towards him, as he waited breathlessly. She stopped in front of him. She was wearing the white dress with the red sash, resplendent in all its glory. Her face looked up at him and broke into a luminous smile. Wisps of damp hair clung to her forehead.
‘Hello!’, she said.