One Tear in the Dropping Rain

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
This short story, however fictional, is inspired by real life events.

Submitted: January 07, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 07, 2017



One voice in the sea of pain.
Could the maker of the stars.
Hear the sound of my breaking heart.
One life is all I am.
Right now I can barely stand.
If you're everything you say you are.
Come close,
And hold my heart.

Her soaked body trembled as tears streamed down Shirley's cheeks. She was alone, on her knees and alone in a cemetary beside her father's grave as the cold, heavy drops of water rained down on her. Her school bag had been absently dumped at her side, the zipper opened and the exposed pages drenched, blue ink slowly spreading into the white. In her grasp, between shivering hands was a little plastic duck; the one given to her by an ailing father three months before.

"I'm sorry, dad," Her voice broke with every word, "I wish-- I wish--" She swallowed a lump.

Why had she been so stubborn? Why hadn't she listened to him all those times? How many times had she slammed the bedroom door in his face when all he wanted to ask about her day? Shirley cried when she remembered what it was like before. It had always been she and him. He showed up at every school concert to show support; he always came for every soccer game. And when she needed a new dress or to raise money for a trip or study tour, he always came up with something; even if it meant borrowing. Shirley looked up at the dark clouds and wondered if her father still watched over her. Maybe he was. She comforted herself, only for a short time. The truth was; she was in pain.

Everyday at school seemed to go the same way. The teachers went easy on her; her form was always met with sorry stares as she walked through the halls, and friends kept her at arm's distance; the very people with whom she had shared slumber parties and moments of laughter at the movies. Day by day, she lost interest in one thing at a time. The neighborhood priest served to remind her that, despite what they always said in church, she was alone. Shirley did believe there was a God; just that he wasn't interested in what she was going through. I'm just one girl. She always told herself.

Strawberry Sundaes had been her favorite everytime she visited the diner down the street, but even they had lost their taste. When she saw a man, his wife and three year old son arrive in with an air of joy about them, her weight grew in her heart. Tears formed in her eyes. She blinked to keep them back and focused on the sundae before her. She stared at it, but didn't have any.

"Daddy," the child's voice had a lisp about it, "Can I have the other one?"
"Vanilla," He replied, love dripping in his tone, "You like vanilla?"
"No, the other one."

Shirley couldn't handle it anymore. She shot to her feet and dashed to the bathroom. She locked herself in a room and slumped to the floor, sobbing. She stared at the ceiling and squeezed the phone in her hand.

"How long must I pray to you?" she cried, "For how long do I have to wait? How long til I see your face, see you shining through?" she got on her knees and pushed her forehead against the wall. She slammed fists into it in a mix of despair, emptiness and frustration, "Why won't you listen to me?" She screamed.

That's when she heard the creak of the door and footsteps approaching her door.

"Hello?" It was a feminine voice, "Are you okay?"
"Go away," Shirley wiped her tears, "I'm fine."
"No, you're not," Her shoes appeared from under the door, "You're in pain."
Shirley said nothing.
"Look, I know what it feels like to be in your situation." the woman said.
That statement touched a sensitive spot in Shirley. Grief gave way to anger. "No. You don't!"
"Trust me. Maybe not exactly, but I can relate," her tone was slow and gentle, "I've know how to feels to be told everything is gonna be fine when it's not, when people look on me with pity and when everything looks bland and without meaning."
That answer poured cold water on her rising temper. Shirley stood and leaned back against the door. "Who are you?"
"I'm Presley," she replied, "I've never introduced myself to anyone in a bathroom before."
Shirley suppressed a laugh.
"I'll be outside in case you need to talk."
"Thanks," She slurred.

There was something about Presley's voice that she found endearing. She washed her face, got her brown hair back in order and walked out of the bathroom. The family of three was still there, sharing a booth while eating ice cream. Shirley looked away and found her booth. She placed the phone on the table and searched for any signs of Presley. There were four people who could have been her, but none looked in her direction.

"I'll be outside..." Shirley remembered.
She placed money on the table and walked out. The sun was only setting over the western horizon, ushering in the clear skies of a summer evening. Shirley looked around the parking lot; searching for signs of life.

"Hello?" someone called from higher ground, "Over here."
Shirley turned. The girl was on the roof, blonde hair standing out in the orange rays of the sun.
"Presley?" Shirley asked.
"Yes," she replied, "You are--"
"Nice to meet you, Shirley. Come up."

Presley's grandfather owned the diner. Like Shirley, she had lost her parents too, the difference being that she had not lost a shred of her joy. Presley was a breath of life into Shirley, slowly helping the girl start loving life again. Everyday, she visited the diner, helping Presley out with whatever chores she had, catching movies together, talking about boys, having sleepovers and playing sports. Despite the occasional argument, their bond grew stronger with each passing day.

All was rosy, including that time when Shirley had an accident and Presley donated blood. It was when both were side by side on different hospital beds that Presley revealed she was dying.

"I--I have a mass in my brain. Doctors say they can't take it out without me suffering permanent brain damage. Grandpa decided against the surgery."
Shirley felt like a dagger had been stabbed in her chest.
"They said I had about six months, give or take," It hurt that Presley said that with a smile, "That was about five months ago."
"Pres--" Shirley felt a lump in her throat, "Why?"
Presley turned her neck and looked at her with love in her eyes, "Why did I give you my blood? Because I want to. Because I love you."
Why? Why did you come into my life knowing you were going to--
"Remember the promise I made to you, Lee?"
Shirley didn't answer. Her tears flowed down her temples as she lay on her back, a tube sticking out of her.
"You're never gonna be alone again. You don't have to walk this road alone, I'll always hold you. You don't have to live this life alone. Even when you're down, I'll be there. Even when you can't fight. I'll be there," she said, softly and tenderly, "I'll always be with you."
She had also said they would change the world together. Bring smiles to people's faces, defend the cause of the fatherless and be a voice for them that could not speak.
"But you're--dying, and you're smiling about it...."
"What d'you want me to do?" Pres asked, "Cry? Lock myself in a room and have a pity party? I already did that. It didn't help."

Despite Shirley believing, things did change for the worse. She hated herself for always believing. Presley had accepted to go under the knife and have the surgery. The doctors said nothing had gone wrong during the operation and all they could do was hope. Presley went on life support, and showed no signs of waking up. Shirley hoped, and prayed. A month later, the grandfather said he did not have enough money to keep her on life support. Shirley offered money, but it was peanuts compared to what was required.

"Hope against all hope." Pres had always said. It wasn't enough.

At the start of the new semester, Shirley arrived at the school the same way she had left at the end of the last semester; alone. For several minutes, she stood at the base of the stairs leading into the main building, dreading the looks of pity and the sad tones. At least she didn't cry.

"I love you too, Pres." She finally said within herself, laying a hand on her chest "You'll always be with me."
She had taken a step when a boy, probably in higher grade, bumped into her.
"Sorry," Shirley apologized.
"No big deal," the boy smiled, "Shirley."
Shirley looked askance at her. "How d'you know--"
"Presley sent me."
The girl pointed. Shirley turned. Across the road and under a tree, was Presley, smiling as always. Shirley dropped her bag and made a run for it. She threw her arms around her dear friend and kissed her so many times she lost count.

"I told you. I'll always be with you." Presley whisphered.
"I thought," Shirley cried, "I thought were gone."
"Faith, Shirley," Presley pulled away, "Have you been using that strawberry perfume? You smell like a sundae."
Shirley laughed.
"You have a class to go to, Lee."
Shirley's smile vanished. "You're leaving?"
"For now. We'll catch up after your class. I had him come over to help you out," she pointed at the boy still standing at the stairs, "Isn't he cute?"
Shirley laughed. "Please."
Presley held out her hands again and embraced her. "I'll see you soon. For now, I have to go prepare."
"Prepare for what?" Shirley raised an eyebrow.
"I promised we'd change the world, didn't I?"
Shirley nodded.
"Go!" Pres half screamed, "Don't be late on my account."
Shirley, renewed, walked back across the road, picked up her bag and met the boy's smile with one of her own.

"Ready for class?" He asked.
"Yeah," She briefly turned to look at Presley, then back at him, "Have a name?"
"I only go with what Pres calls me." He said, starting his journey up the stairs.
"And what's that?" She followed.
Shirley chuckled.
See, Shirley? You're not just one tear in the dropping rain. She could have sworn she heard the voice in her head. It came to her like a knowing, from deep within her. I'm always listening. I always care. Shirley turned back to the road one more time. Presley was gone.

"Hey, speed up." The boy called.
Truth is. I was never alone to begin with. Her father had always said the same thing as well. Thanks, dad.

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