Short Story: Rain
“I don’t care what you do. Not if you hate me, curse me with every breath and never forgive me, but please…Just please don’t love me.”, David told her. She was perplexed. “You can’t tell me how to feel”, she replies as she leans back in the chair “Besides I couldn’t control it if I wanted to. Not that I do, but if I did I couldn’t.”, she folded her arms and waited for his reply.
The restaurant was semi-full, it was a weekday. Reservations had poured in as it was just a few days after Valentine’s day. Couples swooned and giggled, but their table felt like a black hole. Any happiness that came around it was torn asunder as it was warped into the centre of the table, where it simmered. It had begun so differently. David was a developer for indie games at a local studio. He was moving up quickly and had little time for anything else. He had broken up with his girlfriend a year prior and felt like diving back in again. Raquele was a Spanish teacher and had arrived a year ago, almost around the same time David broke up with his ex. They met at a language exchange and hit it off. They had only been dating for a month but Raquele could see David unravel before her eyes. Something was amiss and that sentence proved it.
“You see”, he began, his hands folded up in front of him “the thing is that if you love me, I have come to realise, you will encourage me to do great things. You will support me, help me, be a partner in good times and bad, optimistically speaking.”, the waiter came by and asked if everything was alright. David looked at him and ordered another glass of wine, but Raquele shook her head. The waiter left and David continued. “Growing”, he said “at least to me, has never come from love. It has come from spite, and hate, and revenge. The only way for me to improve was ever to be fuelled by those around me who I held in contempt. I learned how to ice-skate because my father said I couldn’t do it. I played football for 12 years because my bullies said I could never shoot a goal. I became the best striker in our area 3 years in a row. I studied programming and graduated in the top 10% of my class, not because my parents supported me. It was not because my friends supported me. It was because my Mathematics teacher, Mr. Schmidt, said to me in his German accent ‘you will never become anything’.”, David stopped. The wine arrived. He took a big sip and sighed. He leaned back and looked around, then finally met Raquele’s eyes again.
“I fear that if you love me I will not grow anymore. I will become complacent, lazy, content, and jump on the spot. I am not ready for love, because I want to become better. Every day better. So, please… don’t love me.”, he smiled a crooked smile. What was he smiling about? Raquele was confused. She took a moment to soak in what she had just heard. A song began that she recognized and smiled. Raquele looked at David, then leaned forward and supported herself on her elbows.
“OK, David. I see what you are saying. But what I really think that instead of growing, you are afraid.” “Afraid?” “Yes” “Of what?” “You are afraid of holding on to something you might think will hold you back. But love won’t hold you back, actual love. You know what will hold you back? A longing unrequited, that will hold you back. If you love someone and they don’t love you, that will hold you back. Why? Because you won’t be growing, you will be pacing on the spot. Lingering in a sort of… limbo. You know what I mean?” David nodded and took a sip of his wine. Raquele nodded as well “Yes, you would be no where and anywhere, David. A love that comes from the heart will help you grow, if you accept it. If you accept the feeling, and let it come, like waves upon a shore, or like rain drops on the sidewalk. Let it come, hit you, and stay until it goes. If you try to gather the rain drops on the side walk, what happens? Nothing happens”, she answered herself as David opened his mouth. He smiled again and nodded, blinking slowly with his eyes.
“Don’t be afraid of something you can’t really control. You can’t say ‘I will not love, it will keep me from growing’ but say ‘I will love, and with it I will grow’. You will grow alongside of the love. The rain drops fall may fall in vain on the sidewalk, but equally the cloud from which they come, if it is big enough, will have rain pour upon many things. Rain upon the church, rain upon the cars, rain upon a tree. Let the love flow freely from the clouds, David. Let it flow and it will hit many things, and from some of those things it will form something beautiful. A babbling brook that gives life to some fish and frogs, could be your friends. A tree that bears fruit, could be friends, or a lover, for the fruit you will be able to partake in.” Raquele opened her hands invitingly. She paused, elbows on the table, hands open and looked at David. David leaned forward on his elbows and put his hands in hers and he looked at her hands, smiling. Raquele looked down as well and said “Let it rain, David.”