#darling, is it raining where you are?
See, it’s raining again.
My darling is sitting by the windows opening to the glass house garden. I call her my darling because her presence has taken over my life and my will to live since a year ago when I saw her for the first time in the supermarket. I asked her where she lived, and she gave her address to me willingly as if having strangers on the street asking for her address was the most natural thing in the world. And from that moment on, I’ve been living half-permanently at her house.
What are you thinking? She turns around and asks me a rhetoric question. I call it a rhetoric question because my answer has always been –
Nothing. Just that it’s raining far too often here.
Nothing. Just that I love you far too much for the half-permanent life here, under your roof, in your library, watching you waste your life as the rain water flows down the drain.
But that I don’t say to her. After all, she is my darling. I am not hers.
I sit on the chair next to the grand piano, trying to figure out her heartbeat amidst the sound of raindrops on the roof. It’s a special sound. Very faint, but nonetheless, calming and relaxing. It’s the sound of my life right there and I always try to match its rhythmic beat.
I never could.
I look at the fake Van Gogh painting on the other side of the library. It depicts a sad, depressive vase of sunflowers. I never know a sunflower vase can be depressed, but there it is, staring right back at me, filled to the brim with its owner’s melancholy.
Why don’t you ask him to buy you a real one? I ask. The sound of the rain keeps ringing in my ears. It’s a hypnotizing sound. I almost fall asleep on that chair by the grand piano. It’s weird how after one year, my position never gets nearer. Neither does it get farther.
I am like a wild cat who has been domesticated by her beauty: a wild cat that comes and goes at the beck and call of her nimble fingers.
I don’t need a real one, she says. Her smile breaks my train of thoughts to pieces, These days, I don’t even know what’s real anymore.
But that painting is prominently fake to me.
That so? It looks real enough to me, though. She chuckles, her head leans lightly on her knees, her face turns toward me, Don’t you think it looks real?
And I, a fool, immediately says, Yes, it looks real to me now.
You are pushing it too far.
I find it amusing how you never go against my words, that’s all. Say, when will the rain stop?
I don’t know. I am not in control of the weather.
Then what are you in control of?
I don’t know, I says, staring intently at her curled up figure, I am not even in control of who I love.
That’s bad, she says, reaching one hand out of the windows frame, feeling the rain water falling down from the roof, Once you lose that kind of control, there will only be sadness and cold.
Did you ever lose that kind of control?
She shakes her head gently, her long, silky black hair falls on her shoulders and the bony collarbone, I always lose it. That kind of control, I mean.
So why don’t you lose it with me? I blurt out and – immediately realize what I had done – apologize profusely, Sorry, must be all these rains. My mind is soggy.
Don’t say that about yourself.
Or anyone else.
But especially yourself, she leans back against the window frame, You have to be kinder to yourself. Because no one else will.
She draws the shawl up to cover her shoulders. The rain keeps on pouring down the brick roof and the glass house. I take out my polaroid, aim it at her, and press the button. I have treasure trove in my room, in which there are only pictures of her. My darling, I thought, what would I give for me to be your darling, too?
Do you want to listen to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”? She turns around and I quickly hide my polaroid as if I have committed the worst sin of humankind: betraying her.
But I love Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.”
Then let’s listen to it.
She puts the vinyl disc on, and out pour an immense sea of solitude and longing. I try to cross that ocean, to swim to the shore and return to her side.
I never could.
After the first movement, the rain stops. And before the second movement begins, she says, Isn’t it time for you to go home?
Why? Is he coming?
I don’t know, she says, laughing, I am not in control of when he comes or leaves.
I look at her for one last time. Her pair of clear, hazel eyes convey a forest of poems. Sad poems. Longing poems. Arduous poems. Poems of a poet who destroys herself for love far too often.
Fine, I says, I will go home. But promise me: you will be here tomorrow when I come over.
Are you in control of my life?
If I am in control of it, do I need to make you promise me?
You’re a weird one, she says. The second movement begins. Her chuckles turn to a lovely curve on her bright face. She closes her eyes, totally indulging herself in the music, Be quiet, it’s getting to where I want it to be.
I gather my coat, whisper a quiet “good bye,” and walk out of the torment of her world. As I close the library door behind me, I hear her soft voice humming to the melody of the famous sonata. I cry for its beauty. I cry for the fake Vincent Van Gogh’s painting on the gloomy library wall. I cry for the second movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” that always comes too early and too late at the same time.
I cry for me. I cry for her. I cry for every little suffering that is happening in the world.
The next morning, she is gone. I guess that is also the reason she was so willing to give me her address one year ago: she already knew that it didn’t matter then and it doesn’t matter now. The only thing left in that cold, lonesome library is the fake Vincent Van Gogh sunflowers painting that looks real enough to her and prominently fake to me.
I stroke the painting and wonder if she had ever touched this painting in the same gentle way, thinking of the love of her life. After all, she says she often loses the control over of who she falls in love. Maybe the second movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” brought a new lover in to her life. And the new lover will come to her side more often, love her more tenderly, treasure her more than every ancient treasure.
The kind of stuff that I would do at my own will if she had the heart to give me a chance.
But you have no heart, I say, my head leans on the fake painting. What to do, there is no reason for me to come back here anymore.
A small yellow note paper is stuck in a corner of the painting. The note humbly disguised itself in the painting’s colors. I take it off, turn it around, and read all the things that’s left unsaid between us. In the end, she couldn’t find the note, despite staring at it every day, every time, every moment, every minute.
I turn it to the other side and suddenly, my life flashes before my eyes. A life of a love’s beggar, lying in wait for the mercy of a beauty who is far out of her reach.
The note says, You are my darling, too.
Then darling, is it raining where you are?
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