Saturday, September 10, 2005

Title: Autumnal Silence (part 1).
For Debbie.

He first notices her when it is raining.

White diagonal dashes against a pale blue watercolour background. She is standing in the middle of the rain, just standing there, feet together, as if chained to the grey cement floor, lifeless hands clinging on to each other, like forlorn lovers, utterly inseparable. Her head is lifted up, like a sunflower to a blazing ball of flame. He wonders what she is looking at. Her eyes are open. Her eyes are close. She smiles. He feels a white feather prickle his heart. She smiles. No one will notice her. No one has noticed her except for him. He knows this. He likes this. She is but a blurry smutch of indistinctness, a teardrop on a snowing page.

It is silent. No, that would be wrong, because the rain is so loud! Big fat drops of crystals and diamonds glistening in the shimmer of the white gleam of day. Pitter patter. Whoosh. Blip Blop. Down down down down down they come. They wash over her. They wash all other noises away. And because of this, there is only silence. Soft silence… and the dainty dance, the surrealistic song of the rain, sprinkling its’ little sparkles. The little splashes kiss her features.

Do you know what it sounds like? It sounds as though the whole world has come to a standstill. They watch her like an obedient audience. They applaud for her. Clap clap clap clap clap. That’s the sound of the rain. Clap clap clap. They’re clapping for her. A thunderous round of applause and appreciation, rising to a crescendo of overpowering reverberation. She does not know why it sounds this way to her. Does it even matter? No one will ever applaud for her in this way, for there is no reason to… Except now.

He walks towards her purposefully; his hands in his pockets, with a little hunch, a little hurry, and head bent downwards slightly, black shoes stepping ahead of him. With three long strides he is beside her. He reaches out for her hand but holds her elbow instead. She lets out a little gasp and her black eyelashes flutters gently as she opens her bewildered eyes. His hand slides down to her palm. They look at each other, eye to eye, for a faultless second- no more, no less.

“There is a better way to get drenched,” he tells her. He does not know what he is talking about, and yet he does. He is acting on pure impulse. He feels silly, but the both of them are getting wetter each minute and they both look silly together already.

“What do you mean?” she asks.

He is panting, as if he ran a thousand miles. He tries to explain. How do you say, “I know you. I am just like you.”? How do you say, “I understand what it feels like now. The reason why you are in the rain.”? Just say it as it is? He cannot do that. He has suddenly lost the ability to speak properly- to speak at all. He opens his mouth, as if hoping a useful sound would be emitted, a word, a significant word of some sort to render him coherent again. He looks around to find something, anything that will trigger… oh something, anything. His black shoes and the cement ground glare back at him blankly.

“There is a better way to get drenched,” he repeats, then adds hesitantly but keenly, “The rain is not the only thing that gives you silence and gives you the approval of your soul.”

“Oh crap,” he thinks, “This sounds too… overly romantic.”

He is trying too hard. He pushes his fringe away from his eyes. His clothes gorge down the dripping rainwater and it weighs him down. She stares at him with brown eyes as enormous and round as the full moon.

“Come with me,” he says.

He does not wait for a reply. He does as he desires to do. He knows what he is doing. He wants to show her something. Hastily, he pulls her out of the rain. He holds her hand firmly and wills her to walk with him. They walk a few awkward steps together, him in front, leading the way, her a little lost, a little confused, and a little in a daze, moving and not moving at the same time. She freezes. She stops. She takes his hand away from her. There is a flicker of anger flashing brightly in her dark eyes.

“What are you trying to do?” she demands.

He stops walking. He turns around to face her, and the distance between them is so close he has to catch his breath, “Have you ever seen an autumnal silence?” he asks quickly.

“There is no autumn in Singapore,” she tells him matter-of-factly. There is a certain hardness and coldness in the way she speaks, and yet she delivers her words ever so gracefully, like liquid gold.

“Technically, no. But there is…. Let me show you.”

“I don’t even know you!”

Again, he is at a loss for words. “We know each other,” he thinks.

He licks his lips and nod readily to her statement, “No you don’t. Not yet.”

He tells her his name. He stretches out a hand in an attempt to proceed on to a friendly handshake. She stares at his hand, as if it is a sword about to slaughter her. He puts it down. They are still in the rain. They can hardly see each other properly, because the water is filling into their eyes. He blinks frantically, his black eyebrows meeting each other in a frown. She folds her arms and patiently waits for him to speak.

“6 pm. Today. 6. Can you be here?” he requests.

There is a sort of panic in his eyes, a sort of inexplicable desperation exuding from his actions that intrigues and interests her. She watches him and is about to say something, maybe she wants to ask him something, but he says something more.

“I’ll be here. I’ll show you what an autumnal silence is,” he states.

He looks at her. It is a look that says he wants to say so much more but does not know how to. He looks away. He walks away. She watches his sorrowful back become smaller and smaller. Her hair plasters her face. There is a single rumble of thunder. He melts into the rain and disappears.

2 comments:

siti* said...

arhh!! faith!! u're killing me!! i want to know how it ends!!!!

vk (: said...

please post the second part soon!!!