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."
Her world was full of mindless chatter Just a build-up of pointless letters Rushing by like blurry, racing Headlights on a busy highway Nothing she could ever make sense of
A million collisions Car crashes waiting to happen Clashes of whiplash From frequent coming And going attractions Only ever feeling like a passenger In her own life
Constantly reaching out to passing strangers Circling around lonesome conversations Trying to meet another’s damaged eyes Trying to compose soft, pink trails To blossom and bloom In the darkest parts of her heart
Drowning in meaningless exchanges Rehearsed lines she’d heard A thousand times A brief brush of a handshake A quick kiss on the cheek goodbye Just longing to trace The outlines of cracked smiles The same delicate one as hers
Prying her mouth open Hoping to catch the empty promises That would fall from people’s salty tongues Swallow the hollowed out words She knew she could do without Yet, consumed them whole Enough to fill her up again
Yearning to belong To something more than she was shown But; the more she searched aimlessly In an overgrown ocean Of contrived, uttered Mutters and ramblings The more she felt infinitely alone
Softly spoken and gently as she goes She wanders down desolate roads Hitchhiking along a traffic jam Of strange faces she can Never seem to place herself in
Talking to them, one by one Once or twice Never putting a means to an end Just wondering when She will ever find a friend Hidden in the chaos of outside