(This is the English translation of “Hujan Terakhir di Bulan Maret“.)
“Love is never wrong, Sweetheart. It’s the way we love that makes it right or wrong.”
It was when the last rain in March poured down, and we were both sitting on a table at our favorite café, sipping our drinks. Then the conversation began.
“Why do you love me?” I asked, straight faced, trying to peek through the sunglasses you wore to cover your face.
“Why? Does it matter? It doesn’t matter, Sweetheart. The only thing that does matter is I love you. Isn’t it enough?” You smiled.
I looked down, speechless; because actually I agreed with you. I didn’t care why you loved me. I only knew that you loved me, in fact it was already more than enough. However, I was still curious what on earth that made you fall in love with me.
Seeing me speechless, you smiled.
“Maybe because – ah, I don’t know for sure – maybe because you’re so naïve. You’re so – different; you’re just being who you are…” two short seconds, “but as I told you before, does it matter?”
And the last rain in March was pouring down heavily, deafening other people from our conversation, thickening the impenetrable air between us – I tried to look into your eyes.
“But even if you love me, the concept of ‘us’ has no future, am I right?” I felt a lump on my throat as I spoke, “Because like you said, I am so – different. Maybe it’s not me. Maybe it’s you. We are so different from each other, thus bringing us together will be ridiculous.”
“And like the two poles of a magnet, we will always be pulling each other,” You nodded in agreement.
You looked down and played with the shining gold band on your left ring finger. Following you, I also looked at the ring, and a stab of jealousy stabbed my heart. Oh, had it been me who put that piece of ring on your finger six years ago….
“I love you,” I said quietly, more to myself. Thank God it was raining heavily, so you couldn’t catch the bitterness in my tone.
However, you snapped your head and looked directly into my eyes. But I couldn’t look back into yours, because those damned sunglasses unfairly just reflected the reflection of myself.
“Oh,” you said, then you used both of your hands to cover your face. And I looked away from the shining gold band on your left ring finger. “Don’t love me. Do not ever love me…”
And with that, I’ve got my courage. “I love you not because you love me. I don’t need that kind of love. I love you because I love you. I love you because I chose to love you.”
“Maybe you never realize how beautiful you are in my eyes, how easy it is to love you…” I paused for a while. “You know, I will never ask anything from you. Even if you don’t love me back or never care about me at all, I would still love you. I know we will never be together, and I accept it with all my heart. I know someday you will leave, and go back to him. I already knew the day will come. And I have been preparing myself for that day.” But I don’t know yet whether I will be ready when the time comes, I added in my heart.
Time kept passing, the last rain in March was still pouring down because of the gravitation. But, now, it was you who asked me that question.
“Why do you love me?”
I chuckled, feeling win over fate for one short second.
“Of course because you deserve to be loved, Darling. Haven’t you realized it?” and because I was a funny guy, I added, “It doesn’t matter why I love you, Sweetheart. The only thing that does matter is I love you. Isn’t it enough?”
Finally you removed your sunglasses, and I looked into your beautiful eyes, which were still beautiful even though they had tears on them. Tears which were as pure as the last rain in March.
You tried to laugh upon hearing my joke, but your voice cracked and a lone tear rolled down your left cheek. Did you know, how I envied you – because as a woman, you had the right to cry whenever and wherever you wanted to without people mocking – whatever the reason behind those tears.
And I, a stupid guy who loved you and tried to be a gentleman to you, didn’t offer you some tissue from the pile on the table, but reached out my hand to wipe away that lone tear of yours using my finger.
“But this is wrong…” you said bitterly.
“Yes,” I replied, “this is wrong. We both knew that. Maybe we will be thrown into hell for this. But you know what, if only time could turn back and I had one more chance, I would have still chosen to love you. I would have still chosen you, along with all the joy and the pain, and with all the sin it brings. Because I love you.”
Finally you smiled. I was happy because my charm finally brought back the beautiful curve to your lips. I really liked it when you smile, I didn’t know why. Maybe because when you smiled, you made me smile too, without me needing to know what you were smiling about. Therefore, I smiled too.
A full long minute. It looked like the last rain in March was reluctant to stop. Perhaps because it knew that this was the last time it would be on earth for the whole year ahead and it used this last chance to be a little longer being on earth.
“I hate Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. They only had to die to defend their love. Isn’t it the easiest way?” a moment of breath, “Or perhaps I am just jealous because they were still together until the end of the story. In the end, nothing could separate them. Even death.”
“It is ‘Love Story’, my dear,” I told her. “Well, maybe you’re right. All love stories we know only tell the beautiful sides of love. They don’t tell us the hurt, the pain, the break up, and the emptiness you’d feel long after you read ‘The End’…”
We sat in silence for some time, looking at the falling drops of the last rain in March and the noisy sound they made.
“You have to go back,” I finally said, “go back to him, to your real life, since the story of us is only a dream in your sleep. You have to wake up, do not live in this dream. You don’t have to forget your dream, because the harder you try to forget it, the more it stays in your heart. Just remember. Remember, that we have ever been together, at one time in our life. Remember, that we have ever loved each other, at one time in our life. Remember, that we have ever been so happy because we ever loved each other. That’s how I will remember you afterwards.”
You looked at me with your big brown eyes. And since you already removed those damned sunglasses from your eyes, I could read a hint of sadness there. Maybe it’s not me who’s naïve. Maybe it’s you. And very delicate. And very endearing to me.
“You’re going to leave me?” It was not a question. It was a statement.
“Yes, Dear, yes. Not because I don’t love you, instead because I love you so, so I don’t want to ruin your life by being in there.”
I held her hands. Maybe this was the last I could give before the final goodbye. And I kissed her forehead, just like the way I kissed her in all this time. Maybe this, too, was the last kiss. Please remember this, I said to myself.
“Go, my dear, go. Go on with your real life, and don’t miss me. Just remember me, beautifully.” I smiled to add some effect.
“But I love you…” apparently it was not me who’s naïve. It was you. And – ah – it made things harder for me. Because I had to leave you. If only you were just like the other girls who – who was not like you at all, maybe it wouldn’t be this hard.
I inhaled deeply.
“Listen to me carefully,” I looked right into her eyes – eyes which were then full of question and hurt from rejection, “did you say that you hate Romeo and Juliet because they chose death? You are right; it was the easiest way. But we aren’t like that, are we? You and I are not that coward. It takes a zap to commit suicide like they did, but it requires a lifetime bravery to keep living on your own… and I know you have that courage…. Do not disappoint me.”
I was stunned. “Me? You worry about me?” I chuckled. “You don’t have to worry about me, Darling. I have enough courage to love you; I should have had enough courage to leave you, too. Anyway, have you forgotten that I am a playboy?” another chuckle.
“You’re lying. You’re not that tough. I wouldn’t have loved you if I hadn’t known you so well.” And then once again you made that sad smile which could make me lose my coolness.
“But you’re right – you are always right. The concept of ‘us’ has no future indeed. Perhaps it’s the time I become realistic.”
“Ah, that is why I love you. One of many reasons.” I held her hands tighter and brought the one with the gold band to her chest. “Remember, that love is undeniably never wrong, but there are some things we have to put above love; those are,” I looked at her, “conscience, and responsibility. You have them both, and I admire you for that. Besides, love always requires sacrifices, doesn’t it?”
Then we both fell in silence once again. A peaceful silence. A silence that I would never want to be end. Because in that silence, we accepted each other. Because in that silence, we understood each other without saying a word. Because in that silence, we loved each other with all our heart.
Afterward, your phone went off. You glanced at it and then looked at me. And we didn’t have to say anything, but we understood. I nodded sharply. We looked at the sky and noticed that the last rain in March had ceased, finally surrendered to the law of nature. However, I could still feel the water drops in my lungs, left me a memory I would never forget until I die.
You stood up, and looked at me for the last time.
“Don’t say good bye,” I joked, “just say ‘Farewell and good luck’,”
And then you gave me one most beautiful smile you’d ever made, and bended over to kiss my forehead and murmured softly, “I love you…”
And with that, you left.
I shifted my gaze on the table – and found that you had unintentionally left your sunglasses there. Or maybe you did it on purpose – because you knew me so well that you knew I would need them once you left. Because you knew I wouldn’t shed my tears in front of you. Therefore, I took those sunglasses and wore them. And then I cried.
Go, Sweetheart, go. Know that I would never forget you. Perhaps someday we would meet again, and perhaps by that time you would already be happy, and perhaps I, too, would have found someone by my side. But we would never compare them with us; you would never compare your man with me, and I would never compare my girl with you. Because we were so irreplaceable to each other. Because you loved me. And because I loved you.
And so, our story began with the first rain in November, and now ended with the last rain in March. So short, yet so refreshing in the middle of summer, but in the end, it had to follow the nature’s law and went by….