Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Sound of Tears

All is quiet now
Nothing but the sound of tears
Falling on the grass

Shanti stared at the sky from the bed near the window. The rain pelted the window pane. A small rivulet of water trailed from a crack in the glass down to a pool on the sill. Shanti put her finger on the water and changed its course. She could feel Ann watching her. She could feel her concern. She let out a deep breath and turned over, locking eyes with Ann.

“I wish I could see Adam again,” Shanti said.

Ann’s face started to contort, a deep furrow worked its way into her brow. “Why didn’t we do something?”

Ann started to sob and Shanti could not hold back her own tears. The two of them embraced each other and sobbed together as the rain turned to hail, beating against the window. The sound was deafening on the roof of the old clapboard dormitory hall. The silvery crack in the glass grew.

The hail subsided a few minutes later. Shanti got up and looked out the window at the grass field between the buildings. A mound of flowers, balloons, pictures and notes rose among the fallen leaves and hailstones. A small group of students were gathered around the flowers, holding umbrellas.

“I always thought he was a little edgy, but aren’t we all?”

“Yeah, but he seemed like he was happy most of the time. He was always joking around!”

“Except when he drank. Did you ever see him do that? Flip out and start crying?” Shanti said, then paused. “Wait. Was that a clue? Should we have worried then?”

Ann shrugged, “Did you ever notice him complaining?”

“Not really. He always seemed upbeat."

“You don't believe it?”

“Sometimes I got the sense he was ... haunted.”

Shanti put her forehead to the window and watched the crowd gathering. Adam’s girlfriend had just arrived with a wreath. She fell to her knees sobbing as she added the wreath to the mound. Other students helped her stand up. They formed a circle, locked arms, and started to sing "In The Arms Of An Angel.”

As the music drifted up to Shanti’s ears, the rain stopped and the clouds broke. A single ray of sun fell over the crowd. Drops of rain on the flowers glistened like diamonds. The crowd grew silent.

“Come on,” Shanti said quietly, “Let’s go down there.” She clutched Ann’s hand and they made their way out to the circle. They joined arms with their friends.

The rain began to fall again, mixing gently with their many rivers of tears.
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