Raindrops in the Darkness

Roza Kaplan

I could hear her breathing.

I could feel her presence.

In the cloudy night, her figure was covered with darkness.

Books with yellowed papers lined up on the wooden shelves from which emanated that familiar scent; a bouquet of wilted roses on the table scattered with colored pens; pieces of paper with illegible writings; postcards from distant countries, from distant times, words written to beloved ones in languages I didn’t understand, of which I imagined the melody; black and white photos of strangers with smiles shadowed by melancholy, that I had bought in antique libraries, that I collected and conserved carefully; the bed with white sheets, color of the first snowflakes of winter, the whole room was plunged into darkness, which was warm, familiar.

Don’t you want to sleep?”

Her voice was like a whisper.

Not yet.”

We had met that afternoon but I felt as if I had known her all my life. As if she had always been there.

Autumn has come. Finally.”

Autumn? I believe I will hibernate in a tree hollow for eight months and wait for someone to wake me up with the first rays of the May sun.”

Would you like to be alone for such a long time?”

Would you not?”

I enjoy my loneliness. I enjoy my dreams. My books. My room. My darkness.”

And I like to be around people. I like candlelit conversations in winter evenings and herbal teas. I like warm hugs and handmade cookies. I like singing, dancing, walking, laughing and crying, together. I like to never feel alone.”

I don’t believe in the loneliness of human beings. Nor in togetherness. In friendship. In love. In selfishness, in hypocrisy. Nor in altruism, in self-sacrifice, in honesty. In good and in bad.”

I don’t believe in dictionaries.”

I don’t believe in agreements on unique definitions of words. I don’t believe in definitions. I don’t believe in the action of defining.”

What do you believe in?”

In nothing. And in everything.”

Is this even possible?”

Don’t you think it is?”

It’s contradictory.”

Our voices mingled with each other. I couldn’t understand which sentence had been spoken by whom.

As though we were talking at the same time, saying the same thing.

Or not talking at all. Sitting in the silence of the room.

Finally, I could hear her breathing.

I could feel her presence.

At the end of the day, I was tired, sad, angry, hopeless, disappointed, betrayed, scared, and I was joyful, lively, optimistic.

And in the silence of the room, the present mingled with the past.

The door opened with a creak.

Ghosts entered the room. A melody entered the room with cinnamon scents and rain drops.

I could hear laughters and sobs that were distant but as if they were in the room.

I have a small voice. But you can hear me, right?”

Yes, I can.”

People say that I talk with whispers.”

However, I’m actually shouting.”

Sometimes, I’m afraid people will hear me.”

But at the same time, I want to be listened to, understood, appreciated.”

I want someone to tell me that those words, coming out of my mouth, caressing my dry, fine lips like petals of a wilted rose, have a meaning more profound, more intelligent, that they are worth listening to.”

I can tell you this. I can tell you everything you wish.”

I want it to be someone else.”

Shadows entered the room and the door closed. Shadows of strangers, of migratory birds, of spring flowers, shadows of dreams about the future were fluttering in the darkness of the room. I could hear my heartbeat and hers.

I am not sure if I know what I actually want.”

I am not sure if I know who I am, what I am.”

Sometimes, I have this feeling in my heart that I am ‘me’, just ‘me’. But ‘me’ changes in each breath I take. My past swirls around me like a thick fog. The fog is so thick that it blurs my view. Everything I see, I see through it.  And each time I see something, it’s different.  And ‘me’ is different. Sometimes, she is strong and sometimes she is weak. She is fragile, broken. She is exhausted. She has a brave heart though, I know it because it’s mine. She is a dreamer. She wants opposite things at the same time. She is human. Perhaps, she would like to be a pine tree in a vast forest, that in winter and in summer, under snow and under sunlight, never loses its leaves.”

“ ‘Me’ changes.  Blurry images of the past with coffee stains and tears change. The present changes.”

I am the chaser of chimeras in autumn, which has finally come.”

Do you believe in illusions? Because I don’t. Because I don’t believe in reality.”

Do you believe in contradictions? Because I don’t. Because things that contradict are just things, of which some people denied the coexistence, that, however, complete each other.”

Often, I feel drowned in my contradictions. Although it may sound scary, it’s also calming. It’s like finding nowhere to hide under summer rain, being cold but alive, regretting your loneliness but seeing others getting covered in rain drops just like you.”

She laughed. For the first time since we had been together.

Her voice was sweet, like a chamomile. I noticed that I was sleepy.

We live in our contradictions. They are dolorous, torturing us.  At the same time, they complete us, even though we may not always see it clearly.  Isn’t life itself contradictory? We say that it’s real but it could be a dream, and sometimes I feel it is. And isn’t this the mystery of life that for centuries the human reason has been trying to understand?”

In the darkness of the room, I couldn’t know if my eyelids were open or closed.

I couldn’t know if she was still there, in the silence.