I’m half awake and half asleep but I’m aware of its presence embracing me. I slowly open my eyes and see the moistened glass window two meters away from my bed. It’s raining hard outside. I like it. Now, I have two reasons not to go to work today. First, my aching muscles. Second, it’s simply impossible for me to cross the water which is knee-deep high, for me to reach the bus stop. I give a victorious smile and I slowly get up and sit still at the foot of my comfortable bed. I feel soreness creeping all over my body. I close my eyes and take a slow breath to ease the pain.
I slowly get up and go to the bathroom to wash my face then I open my fridge and get something to eat. I sit on the couch beside the glass window holding a bowl of cereals. I love cereals. I eat it every morning. I glance outside the window. The rain doesn’t stop. I hope it won’t stop until my body will be ready to go out. I continue eating my cereals while thinking about how I will spend the rest of the day inside my room.
Well, I could read the book that I bought last weekend or perhaps I can spend the whole day surfing the internet and chat with my friends or perhaps I can make a new story since I haven’t made one in a while.
I finish my cereal, drink water, brush my teeth, take a shower and wear my most comfortable clothes. I sit on my study table and turn on my computer. The rain is still pouring, my muscles are sore but then my fingers starts pressing the keys and I find myself writing another story.
It is 5:30 in the morning and the sun is almost up on the peaceful canvas of the heavenly sky. Verena and Patty are walking with their comfortable shorts and t-shirts holding their baskets of sandwiches and fruit juice. They’ll go swimming in the lake near Patty’s house. The air is cool and everything feels so natural and refreshing. It’s been a while since they swam in what they call their ‘dwelling place’ and it’s been a while since they’ve been together again one on one in this old place where they’ve been away for quite some time now.
After a few minutes of walking, finally, they reach the lake. Just like before, the water is clear, calm. Those were the reasons why they have always loved this place. It gives them comfort and peace.
With sparkling smiles on their lips, they throw themselves into the water and start swimming like little mermaids and splashing each other with the cool water. Suddenly, Verena and Patty are teenagers again. They play with the water, they dance, and they laugh. The sun is already up and they never felt so alive and warm after a long time.
They get off from the water to take a rest. With their wet clothes on they sit under an acacia tree which is close to the water with their legs stretched out.
“It’s nice to be here again,” Verena says.
“I’m glad the water is still as clean as before.”
“Papa said the people in the community impose strict rules to protect and maintain the water.”
Patty crosses her legs and gives a deep sigh. “Oh… I missed this lake.”
“Me too. It’s been a long time.”
Verena and Patty were classmates way back in college. Patty was sweet and silent while Verena is the more friendly and outgoing one. They started to become close friends when they became group mates in their thesis project. Since then their friendship has became a pact, that they will be friends no matter what.
As friends, they spend a long time with each other talking about life and dreams. They talk about fears and doubts and love and hurt. They can talk about anything under the sun. They can even keep themselves up until morning just talking about their experiences, their realizations and their unending thoughts. Now, they’re both 26 and they are still the same friends as before.
“Don’t you find the sky beautiful, V, with the sun up there?” Patty asks. That’s how she calls Verena.
“It’s very lovely, Pat.” And that’s how she calls Patty.
“Yah, I think so…”
They are both looking at the sky with the round sun shining bright. They both feel relaxed.
“My work is killing me, Pat. But I like it. It keeps me from too much thinking.”
“Too much thinking of what?”
They both laugh. Verena works in the fashion industry. She’s good with what she does. She designs clothing lines. She conducts fashion shows twice or even thrice a year. She is successful in her career and some other things but not in her relationship with men.
“I’m very proud of what you’ve become, V. You deserve everything that you have now.” Patty is looking at her friend with sincere eyes.
“Thanks, Pat. You know you’re one of those people who encouraged me to push through with this dream of mine.”
“I knew you were good, V. I just believed in what you can do.”
During their college days, Patty was the one who would write down Verena’s name on the registration forms of fashion design contests. Verena hates it but Patty just urges her on. Verena may be friendly and out going, but in terms of her capabilities in drawing and fashion designing, she was not that confident. And so Patty was the one who would encourage her and most often plays as her personal manager. They would argue every time Patty would want Verena to join a contest but after long hours of arguing this and that Patty always succeeds.
“Oh Pat, you’re my angel.”
Patty laughs, “How I wish I could have my wings now.”
“I could make you those huge long wings just like the VS models.”
“I’d love that.”
Suddenly the water moves. They look at each other.
“Do you think there’s a fish out there?” Verena asks.
“Most probably yes.”
“Why haven’t we tried fishing before, Pat?”
“Are you serious, V?” Patty gives a short laugh. “We can never do fishing, we talk too much and we’ve got amplified voices. We’ll drive the fish away even before they could start moving toward our bait worms.”
“Oh… I never thought we don’t talk like normal people.” Verena gives an innocent looking expression.
“We definitely don’t.”
They laugh again. A gentle rush of the wind embraces them and they feel a little cold.
“When is your next exhibit?” Verena asks with her arms crossed over her chest.
“Two months from now.”
“You should come.”
Verena puts her hands on her waist and says, “I’m always present in all your exhibits Patty, haven’t you noticed?”
Patty laughs, “I know…but this time, I just want to encourage you more to come.”
“Ok…so what are you taking this time?” Verena folds her right leg and leans her chin on her knee.
“Tumbleweeds.” She says again.
“Well that’s very surprising and…” Verena looks at the calm water. “…lonely.”
“Do you think it’s lonely?” Patty looks at Verena with a plain look.
“I also thought about that too. I’ve been to the deserts of America and saw tumbleweeds rolling around everywhere. They gave me a sad picture of loneliness or perhaps desolation. But then one day, I was taking pictures of the desert’s landscape and suddenly a huge tumbleweed came rolling in front of me. Then surprisingly this thought came to me that that tumbleweed obviously took a lot of weeds with it to make it become as big as it is.”
Verena’s gaze is fixed on Patty. She knows there is more to what Patty is saying.
Patty clears her throat. “V, I guess we are all like tumbleweeds. The moment tumbleweeds get mature, they uproot themselves and begin to wander and along the way, they catch other weeds and take those weeds with them and wander again until they become bigger and bigger and finally become a full tumbleweed.”
Patty gracefully lies on the ground. She can feel the cool breeze playing around.
Verena lies on the ground too still absorbing what Patty has just said.
“That was such a nice thought, Pat.” She is looking at the green leaves and branches swaying above them with a smile on her lips.
Patty smiles too. “What are the weeds that you’ve got, V?”
Verena falls silent. She’s thinking about the things in her life, the highs and lows, the sad things and the bad ones. She stares at the little leaves on the twigs being swayed by the gentle wind. She thinks of her success in her career and all the relationships that she had with men and how she saw them fail. Then she thinks of Jonathan. Suddenly, everything starts to remind her about love, joy, betrayal, pain. She closed her eyes and gentle tears began to flow on the sides of her eyes then on the grass and from the grass to the ground.
Patty takes a glance at her friend and sees her tears flowing. “V?” she calls her softly.
Verena opens her eyes. “I have a great deal of weeds, Pat.”
Patty takes a look at the leaves above them and smiles. She is one person in the world who knows Verena more than anybody else. She knows what she has been through and she knows what she is and how she feels and what she wants.
They are still looking at the gorgeous leaves above them and enjoying the sweet sound that they create as the wind blows them.
“By the way, for the record, you’re still the sweetest weed I ever had.”
“I know.” Patty says and they both laugh.
“It’s funny how I kept looking for a cure to heal my heartaches in the past and I still end up realizing that all my efforts are useless. Then I met your God.” Verena’s voice was low and soft.
“I was lost too. But when I finally found Him, I mean this time in a deeper and more passionate way, I couldn’t help but to share Him to others, especially to you.”
“I have loved so many men in my life Pat but this love that I had was empty, tiring.”
“Human love doesn’t last, V. It can easily be consumed. We need that someone greater than anything else to intervene and sustain our love, because that someone is the source of all the love in the world.”
“I should have learned that before.”
“It’s never too late, V.”
Verena is about to close her eyes again but she remembers the sandwiches and fresh orange juice that they have in their baskets and she starts to feel hungry.
“I think we should eat.”
“Oh… I almost forgot about our sandwiches…”
“And our fresh orange juice.”
One thing that makes them friends is that they both like orange juice. They get up and start unpacking their baskets. They eat heartily like each bite is heaven and every gulp is paradise.
“So, what about you?”Verena asks.
“How’s your heart fairing?”
“Good… So, do you have somebody right now whom you’re interested in?” Verena takes a bite of her sandwich.
Verena takes a sip of her orange juice. It’s sweet and fresh.
“What about that film director that you met when you were having your photo shoots in India?”
“V, we’re just business friends.”
“Oh… but he’s been sending you flowers like everyday when you were there.”
“I told him that I’m not interested about having any relationships with any men at this point and I wanted him and me to be just friends.”
“Whoa… very straightforward… very Patty…” Verena laughs sweetly.
Patty gives a sigh. “I don’t know V, every time I think about this relationship and love, I can’t help but feel sad and cold. Or maybe I’m just bitter about it, maybe.”
“Do you still think about him? Sometimes?”
Patty finishes her orange juice. “I don’t. I mean I try not to.”
Verena is silent. Jude is Patty’s first love and the only man Patty has ever loved. After him, Patty never fell in love again. She was there when Patty started to get infatuated with him way back in college, she was there during the courting stage and was so there during the full blossoming of what they called their ‘love story.’ She knows how Patty loves Jude so much. She has seen its authenticity many times. It was real. It might not last like what they’ve been discussing just now but she doesn’t believe that it would just go away that easily either. She could honestly say that Patty has loved Jude more than she has loved Jonathan. It’s funny how she could compare the amount of her love for Jonathan and Patty’s love for Jude. But it’s true.
“I don’t think it’s fair that you would just decide that you’re not meant for each other just because you can’t make him believe in the things that you believe in.”
Patty is listening.
“I mean, the issue of spirituality is a big deal. It’s a way of life. If you can’t meet in that area then it would be impossible for you to stay together. But…Patty, there is always a hope for everything. You have taught me that before when I was running to you crying during my last heartbreak.”
Patty looks at her friend with a twinge of guilt in her eyes.
“You told me that hope comes from above and we have to hold on to it,” Verena continues.
Patty looks at the birds hopping on the ground. “Yah, I remember I said that…I still hope V, sometimes…when it gets too much, like when I miss him so bad. I did cry too. Losing Jude was like losing a part of me. After I let him go, that part of me died, became paralyzed. I don’t even have any intention of bringing it back to life. I want it to stay that way.”
Patty’s gaze shifts to the small ripples of water in front of them. ”When everything started to fall I thought of heaven and its promises warmed me. And so I thought, why would I fight and struggle to be happy on earth when I can freely get happiness from heaven. I mean, if things are not meant for me, why would I continue holding on to it when I can just let it go and make life easier? I can have more than want I want on earth when I go to heaven.”
“What about love?” Verena feels sad. She always trusts Patty’s thoughts and this time, Patty is saying no to Jude, which is unbelievable, but nevertheless she has to trust her friend.
“Love comes from above. We have to go back to that love before we can love others.”
Patty’s face is peaceful and her heart is light. Deep within her she knows she loves Jude but she has to love someone more and more than Jude and that would be her Source of everything.
“No wonder my life was changed upside down when I got back to that love.” Verena smiles. “But… I was just thinking that maybe God can do some miracle for you and Jude, something that brings the two of you together.”
“I’m just sad about what happened between you and Jude. I love the two of you and I just want you guys to be together.” Verena smiles.
Patty smiles too. “Everything works together for good.”
“Yah… and it’s much better to be single anyway,” Verena says.
They both laugh.
“What about Jonathan? How is he?”
Verena is silent for awhile. “I guess he’s okay.”
“Do you still think about him…sometimes?”
The day is very bright and cool at the same time. The birds keep on chirping. They are full and neither of them wants to say anything.
“I hate first loves.” Verena breaks the silence.
This time they both give big laughs.
“It’s okay, V… We are beautiful and strong tumbleweeds. We can get through all of these.” Patty winks at Verena.
“Thank you, Pat.”
“Thank you, V.”
“Let’s go swim one more time.”
Verena and Patty ran into the water like little girls and they start playing again with the water, dancing and laughing with the sun smiling down at them.
I press period to end my story. I can still feel pain in my muscles. I should have taken some medicines after breakfast but I’m glad I didn’t. Sometimes, physical pain helps. It conceals whatever feelings that you don’t want to feel inside and somehow steals for awhile the pains owned by your emotions.
I glance at the glass window and see the dew drops all over it. It’s still raining outside. I look down from the window. The ground is wet and I can see people walking with their colorful umbrellas. I look around and notice that the chairs and the coffee tables of my favorite coffee shop are soaked from the rain.
It’s funny how much I could love the rain and hate it at the same time. It gives promises of comfort and rest but at the same time, it evokes the feeling of loneliness and solitude.
I think about the warm and bright sun of Patty and Verena. I think about friendship and conversations. I think about lying freely on the ground and playing in the water. Now I’m starting to miss my friends. It must be nice to be talking with them now beside this glass window with the rain outside.
Life… You really cannot hold on to things or people forever. There will always be that day that you will see them leave and move away and at the end of the day, you’ll find yourself wandering around too like the others… just like tumbleweeds. Yes, just like tumbleweeds.
I glance at my computer again and write the title of my story and then I scroll down to the last page. It’s finished. I place the cursor at the bottom right part of the page and type my name: Laura.