The rain starts pouring that particular early evening. Other students run towards buildings for shelter, but I do not notice the cold. How I feel is more overpowering than the disgust I would have felt for me getting soaked at any other time. My feet automatically stop right next to the bench where I have first seen her. That was what, more than a year ago, and I have not seen her for six months now. My beautiful, sweet Angie.
Nothing could have prepared me for that one, fateful night when I passed by the same spot on my way home and, against the darkness of the park, I noticed a girl with her head bowed, her arms propped against the bench, and her hair covering her face. It was raining then, too, and that forlorn figure got me worried in spite of myself. So I had approached where she sat, and carefully asked, “Uhm, miss? ” She did not look up. Maybe she was a stone sculpture, until I heard a hiccup. “Miss, are you OK? It’s raining and, uh, it’s kind of dark here. ” The girl slowly sat upright until she was looking at me directly.
I swear I heard angels singing when she trained those eyes on me. But they were sad, tear-stained eyes. I could not help thinking what possibly made such beautiful girl cry. Yes, she was beautiful even with the dark stains in her cheeks. Despite the situation, the guy in me just could not stop checking her out. She looked tall and slender. Her hair was long, almost reaching her elbow. She had these thin eyebrows, the kind I usually looked at in women. They made her eyes look bigger and God, didn’t she have the longest eyelashes. What guy wouldn’t fall for a woman who looks like her?
My scrutiny halted when she muttered, almost inaudibly, “I’m OK. ” Her voice sounded sweet to my ears. I have never been a picky person, except when it comes to women. I can eat anything, anyone can be my friend, but I can never just pick out one woman from the crowd and pursue her ‘til she say that sweet ‘Yes. ’ I guess maybe that’s the reason why I fell hopelessly in love with Angie. She just appeared into my life without warning, and she never sent any signal to my direction that she likes me, too. A week after that incident, I was forced to do some researching at the main library.
By any choice, I would have chosen to play hoops with the guys, but my grade was on the line. Little did I know that I’d see her for the second time, in the library. The funny thing was we were obviously looking for the same thing because we reached for an old book at the same time. When we looked at each other, I found out it was her. She must have recognized me because she tentatively smiled. “Uh, go ahead,” I said, ever the gentleman. She took the book and said, “I guess there’s only this copy here. By the way, I’m Angie. You were that guy. ” It made me smile because she did remember. “Yeah!
I’m Skip. ” When she looked puzzled, I added, “Actually it’s Steven, but I’m usually called Skip. ” It was a year ago now, but I can still remember the way she smiled when we studied that book, or the way her face lit up whenever she talked. Eventually we became friends as we found out we had the same teacher but a different schedule on a subject. That friendship entitled me to see her everyday and talk with her. As days and months passed, I became more attached to Angie. Sometimes I would decline my mates’ invitation for one basketball game just so I could accompany Angie to wherever she wanted to go.
I found out that I immensely enjoyed her company because we have so many things in common. We both grew up in a broken family; she lived with her father, while I grew up with my mother. The comfort we found in each other after talking about a similar experience drew us ever closer. It dawned on me one day that I have fallen in love with Angie. Every time she’s away, it creates a hollow feeling that only she can fill. Even my friends noticed the change in me. I was too afraid to let her know. The last time I pursued a girl, she turned me down even before I could ask her.
I felt that it might happen the second time around with Angie. That would surely crush my heart, or any chances of her and me ending up together. More days passed. I got the shock of my life when one night, while I was at the apartment studying with my friends, she came barging into the room wearing the biggest, most beautiful smile. I was imagining her telling me, “Skip, I just found out that I could not live without you! ” Instead, she told me and everyone else, “Skip! My goodness, you wouldn’t believe this! Will finally asked me! ” I frowned upon hearing that name.
I only met Will once or twice, and it didn’t dawn on me that he was pursuing my Angie, too. I didn’t even know if the two dated. After Angie told me about him, I felt like the world was crushing me. Would she have worn the same, big, beautiful smile if I asked her? Probably not. I died when she next announced, “Skip, he asked me. How could I not say yes? We dated a few times but we always see each other during Math II and…” I no longer heard the rest of it because I stood up and, without saying anything, locked myself in my room. I didn’t hear her knocking, nor her voice pleading me to come out and tell her what’s wrong.
The erratic beating of my barely functioning heart was too loud for me to hear anything. What Angie said, it was like a dagger. After all this time, I’ve been building my courage to finally tell her how I feel. But she beat me to it, with a very cruel message. Anger, regret, and resentment rolled up until I couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted to shout, to hurt myself. But how could I rewind the time, back to the days when I was on the verge of professing to her? I never felt so bad in my life, not even the way I feel about my last unfortunate episode with a girl can compare.
I have loved Angie, so much in fact that I can give up anything. I nurtured this feeling until it blossomed into full-blown love that is far from what any man can comprehend. I wanted her back. I wanted back my Angie. It was so unfair. I know I haven’t indicated that I feel something special for her, but how could she not notice? It was like telling me, in my face, that she doesn’t think I’m good enough for her. It was too much that I found myself crying into the night like I never did before. The tears just wouldn’t stop even if I reminded myself it was not a macho thing.
But who cares? The woman I’ve secretly loved for so long, just fluttered away. I found out it was hard. Since that night I avoided her, ignored her calls, her messages. I was hurting so much that I didn’t want to see her. Eventually the calls and messages stopped. I barely saw her in the months that followed. If I did, she was in the company of that guy who could have been me had I dared to tell her. I tried to move on because I can see that she’s happy. I was just unsure if it would be a great idea right now to be friends with her again.
So the days and months that followed, I immersed myself into studying, hanging out with my friends and signing up for other activities to help me forget. I knew there was no other way but to forget, and forget I did. So in that early evening, I sit where she sat more than one year ago. The rain was accommodating, falling endlessly and washing the tears from my eyes. I was not crying because of regret, but because of the fact that I really did move on after all. I prop my hands over the edge of the cold bench and watch as droplets of rain create ripples in the puddle of water on my feet.
Suddenly, rain stops falling in the puddle but it does not stop entirely. A pair of shoes appeared just next to the bench, and I noticed that a shadow stretches over the lawn in front of me. A female voice carefully asked, “Excuse me. Are you alright? ” Yeah, it’s time for me to let go. Time can heal all wounds, and rain can wash away tears. I couldn’t help smiling at the turn of two similar events: one more than a year ago, and the other, right now. With a smile I looked up into the worried face of a girl holding an umbrella towards me and I said, “Yes, I’m OK. ”