Novel 1 - Before the Rain
Before the rain falls, there is an illuminating change to the color of the sky. The air turns green while clouds hover above the horizon, inviting a refreshing scent. Winds begin to sing, trees begin to dance, and depending on the size of the storm, leaves begin to swing as if they are excited about a visit from a friend. The temperature begins to cool down and if youíre outside without any form of shelter, you begin to get nervous, as if something dangerous is about to happen. Thereís just something about the moment before the rain starts to fall that brings out certain personalities from different people. For me, the rain will always bring a certain memory that I will never forget, a certain person.
Before I moved to Seattle, I used to live in Dallas. I liked living in Dallas, but I needed a new environment and Seattle provided many different things. I live close to Puget Sound, and from a distance, you can actually see the majestic top of Mount Rainier. I found my apartment through my sister, Lauren, who also lives in Seattle. She lives near downtown Ballard and you can walk from her house to my apartment using the "secret" bridge that connects Ballard to Magnolia. My apartment is located in Magnolia and during the weekends, on a beautiful day, I walk to her house. Although I'm only walking distance from her, today, I'm waiting for her to drive me to the airport. I'm leaving in a few hours and she was nice enough to take a half-day off from work to drive me there.
I've lived in Seattle for over three years now and it never ceases to amaze me how I can live in this tiny apartment. I have a one-room apartment and even though itís not your most furnished apartment, it has everything that I could ever need. I have a bed, a chair, a table, a couch, a TV, a lamp. I even have a typewriter. An Edward Hopper print, Nighthawks, hangs above the fireplace and aside from empty packs of cigarettes decorated around the room, black and white pictures taken over the years are scattered everywhere. My favorite picture is the one sitting on the dresser near my bed. Itís a black and white picture of the two of us sitting in the restaurant before she moved. I remember the waiter taking our picture. Many candles decorate my one room apartment, but the one that I can stare at for hours is this colored glass candleholder that she gave me when we were in Seattle. At night, you can see various colors peppered across the ceiling and along the walls. Maybe itís just my imagination, but sometimes I can find the colors dancing to a certain ballad. On the dresser, beside my bed, is an envelope that includes a letter she wrote me the night before the accident. I read it when I want to hear her voice or when I think of her, which aside from dreaming of her has been the most consistent part of my life.
I spend most of my free time visiting the museum in downtown Seattle. I visit frequently - not so much for the art, but more for the feeling I get just being inside. There arenít many places I can spend countless hours doing nothing, but I could stay for days just sitting there in the museum. As I try to finish my novel, I realize that the inspiration I get for finishing it comes from the hours I spend sitting in that museum. Iím almost done with the novel and Iím hoping to finish writing it while Iím in Ireland. It has taken me some time to finally take a vacation. I guess itís not really a vacation but more of a promise - a promise I made to her a long time ago. Iím staying at the Ashford Castle for a few weeks and hopefully at the end of my journey, my novel will be completed. It has been a struggle of late to actually write something cohesive, but I have a feeling that being in Ireland will provide me the strength to finish writing the story I started years ago.
For as long as I can remember, I always thought that something was missing and that my life was not complete. I always felt that there was a hole in my heart. I was forever trying to complete my everlasting puzzle, and every woman who I fell in love with was supposed to fill the role of being the final piece. I kept chasing and chasing happiness, doing everything I could to catch that butterfly and keep it forever hidden in my pocket, but looking back at everything, I was never really successful, or so I thought. I was engaged and for the first time in my life I was finally settling down. I loved her enough, I thought to myself, and I knew that I could spend the rest of my life with her. But deep down, I also knew that I was settling for her. I didn't want to admit it at the time, but I felt that I didn't want to be alone. I asked her to marry me and that's when I caught a glimpse from the past.
I received a letter from an old friend stating that she was to be in Seattle for a few weeks. I was fairly surprised to hear from her after all this time and seeing her that day completely changed my life. There I was in Gate D2 of Seattleís Tacoma International Airport, and I never imagined that things would unfold in this manner. After years of what seemed to be a lifetimeís worth of endless frustration and constant searching for that fluttering butterfly in the wind, I was finally able to see that the person Iíve been waiting for and the person who stood there in front of the baggage carousel, was the one for me. I was engaged to a woman I loved yet my heart belonged to someone else. When I saw her that night, even after all those years, I knew that she was everything that Iíve ever wanted in a woman, a lover, and a friend. Who was to know that our lives would change after that day?
Copyright © Walter Grio 2001