There was rain on the rooftops the day I went home. The train was on time but I was early, and the waiting had me pulling out his picture.
He looked the same as always, with that lopsided grin, and that hair that never listened.
The train was a rickety old thing, rumbling with a constant bellyache, tumbling from side to side. Outside the rain was a light shower, a soft whisper of water caressing against tiled roofs, dripping from the ends of veined chlorophyll, momentum speeding up and slowing down, before hitting the ground and shattering into a million liquid crystals. In that one moment, fleeting like the breath of a hummingbird’s wings, Beauty is unmarred and perfect, nature at its finest; and yet as the wings flap a second time, it has fallen, gone, soaked into the hungry soil of the Earth.
The journey was a long 120 minutes, and the waiting had me pulling out his picture. I thought he looked particularly dashing in that get-up, what with the short sleeves emphasizing his lean, muscular shoulders.
Another train picked me up from the train station, this time a sleek fast one that whizzed by on cement tracks more than twenty feet off the ground. It was incredible what modern technology had managed to solve, and yet still the rudimentary instincts of men, the basic chemicals whirling within us, the cornucopia of feelings and the vortex of emotions remained until today greater than the world’s greatest mysteries.
Wouldn’t it be nice, to be able to get all of them out, down to the tiny little bits, and store them away inside a box, until I was ready to feel again? Then perhaps when I wasn’t home, I would be less inclined to cry, for I would be less inclined to miss him so much.
I missed him so, so much.
He was not there to pick me up when I finally arrived. It didn’t mean that I was any less happy to see my mother standing there next to our faded little car, hugging herself under the awning and ducking whenever a vehicle splashed up puddles as it zoomed by. It didn’t mean that I was any less happy to see the way her eyes lit up as she struggled to open up the big umbrella that could warmly accommodate us both. It didn’t mean that I was any less happy to throw myself into her embrace, my luggage grumbling about abandonment as it leaned awkwardly against the pavement.
But it did mean that I would have been a lot more happier if he had done all those things beside her.
In the car, I pulled up his picture for one last time.
He had youth in his eyes, innocence on his face, spark in his step and radiated pure love.
I reached home and I opened the door.
“You’re back!” he shrieked, and he launched himself upon me, all 136 cm of his skinny frame, short hair spiky and a self-made Lego crossbow hanging from his left hand.
“Oof!” I laughed, as he crashed right into me, my head turned sideways on his small shoulder, eyes shimmering with wetness like how the roads shimmered with rain.
I looked out the window even as I hugged my little brother hard.
There was rain on the rooftops the day I went home.