I knew then, when I met you on that June evening, that you loved the city. The library was closed and you sat on a park bench, a book underneath your arm, rapidly tapping away on your phone.
I nudged you, and you looked up with vacant surprise. Pointing towards the book, I saw out of the corner of my eye, "One Hundred Years of Solitude."
"Is that the original Spanish version?" "It is. I am trying to work on my linguistic skills." "I see. I am Rhys. And you are?" "Nice to meet you too, Rhys. I am Elyse. I have never seen you here before." "Yeah, I came down a week ago. Got a trial at St James Park."
She looked rather amazed. "Nobody else comes to Newcastle anyway. Unless it's for the footy."
"But you love this city, don't you?" "I hate the rains. Look at the damn sky. Have they even heard of the colour blue?" "You will love the rain too. One day." "You think?" "I know."
I would love to tell you that the trial worked out. That I got into the Magpies team, and went on to win trophies. That they still chant the name of Rhys Flanagan. Nah, none of that happened. I was just another academy kid who had dreams in his eyes but not the required talent to make it at the highest level.
But I did meet up with Elyse a few years later. She was doing her graduation in English literature and had almost finished writing her first novel.
"Oh hey, buy the book okay? I will sign it for you. You didn't become a player, did you?" I shook my head. "I am an agent now. I handle their money." And we both laughed.
A month later, the book was at my doorstep. I opened up the first page and smiled.
"Dedicated to the boy who promised to make me love the rain. And never kept it. PS- I love the rain now."