29
Jun
09

The Day It Rained On The Beach

The following short story was first published in 1992 in B.A. Review, the news magazine of the Business Administration Division of the Ateneo de Davao University. I was about 18 when I wrote it.

The Day It Rained On The Beach

It was three in the afternoon and I was alone in my room. The air was humid, making me feel uneasy, and my thoughts were filled with the memories of a girl I once had before. There was nothing important to do – no homework, no exams – and the boredom was driving me crazy. I figured I had to do something, so I took my motorbike and decided to go to the beach.

Along the way, I could imagine the low waves that break into white foam and the beautiful horizon where the sea meets the sky. I always loved the beach and I had known it as a place of comfort and solitude. I often went there whenever I had sorrows to bear or tensions to release.

As I was nearing the sea, I had the same joyous feeling I always had every time I went there. I was longing to feel the cool water once more. But that day it was different. When I looked at the ocean I saw huge waves. The wind was blowing strongly, the sky was clouded over, and after a clap of thunder, it started to rain.

I was already alone that moment, just lying on the sand and being drenched. I was starting to shiver from the cold when I remembered again the girl from my past.

I tried to write the letters of her name on the sand, but the sea easily effaced them with just one breaker. I moved back where the water couldn’t reach and wrote her name once more, but now it was the rain that did the job. But I didn’t stop. I wrote her name again and again until there was a time when I could somehow see the letters even though they were completely washed away, and then her memories flashed more vividly through my mind.

I really didn’t know why we broke up. She always told me how much she loves me and she did prove it at all cost. But I wasn’t able to do my part. I always knew I loved the girl – I just didn’t know how much. I couldn’t assure her of my full commitment for I myself couldn’t even understand my own feelings.

When I told her those things, I thought that she was going to get upset and that she would burst into rage, but instead she just stared at me silently. She even tried to smile and said that it was all right, but I knew from her eyes just how much she was hurting inside. She began to weep and so I tried to hold her, but she pushed me back and without saying a word, she left. I thought about running after her but then I hesitated because I didn’t realize what I had just done, and my mind was so disturbed since then.

My thoughts were suddenly disrupted when I saw a big wave coming. Still sitting down, I tried to ignore it for it barely reached my waist. But then a second one very much bigger than the first rolled over and completely covered me and washed me back to the sea.

I was being carried farther and farther away from the shore and I started to panic because I was able to swallow some seawater. I knew I was going to drown but just as I was abandoning all hopes of surviving, the picture of the girl suddenly flashed again in my mind. I always believed that living for oneself alone isn’t worth living for at all, but that moment I realized that living for someone else would be a much better reason to live for.

I paddled with my arms and legs. I felt a painful cramp on my left calf but I ignored it and kept on swimming, thinking what would happen to the one who loves me if I died. I kept struggling through the waves and realized just how much I loved her – I actually loved her more than myself.

I was so filled with emotions as I was swimming for my life that I felt like dreaming and I was unaware that I had already reached the shore.

Lying face-down on the beach, I lifted my head and slowly opened my eyes. I summoned all that was left of my strength and cried out her name and shouted out how much I love her on top of my lungs. I coughed and panted heavily. I cried out her name again, but with a lesser force than the first time.

In spite of the heavy rain, I could feel warm tears flowing down my face. I uttered her name for the third time, but my voice was already very weak that it turned into a murmur.

I closed my eyes and gently rested my head on the sand. Then, still breathing deeply through my mouth, I smiled the most contented smile.

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