It was his fourteenth birthday, and he didn’t want to go home even though he was all soaked through. Since he never listened to the weather broadcast or his mother he wasn’t prepared for this sudden, though predicted downpour that now was hitting him with its big and heavy drops.
He didn’t care. He stood in the middle of the street and watched people hide under umbrellas and hurry away to get under the roof as soon as possible. They ran to their safe spots, to their dry worlds.
He looked at a couple that shared a small umbrella and, huddling, tried to speed up the steps, but instead of walking faster they waddled clumsily and stumbled every so often. “One shelter for two never works,” he thought. “That’s how they feel home too. Their love is as awkward as this run in the rain. It’s all a big lie.”
He looked up at the grey sky. The water flew down his neck, and he felt its cold touch under his collar. “You are bullies!” he cried at the clouds. “Why do you make us suffer?” The clouds ignored the question. “I won’t let you win!”
A man, scurrying by, threw a scared glance at the boy and then immediately looked away.
“Keep running!” the boy yelled at the man’s back. “He thinks I’m crazy. But I’m the only one who is not,” he told himself. “I’m right, and I won’t leave. The rain makes all of you hide in the stuffy cages you call apartments, in the small worlds with annoying routines you call life.” He lifted the collar of the wet jeans jacket and shivered.
“I’ll stay outside. Yes, I’ll get wet, so what? No big deal, I won’t get cold. And even if I die of pneumonia it still will be better than pretending that I’m happy.”
“It’s better here, outside,” he kept convincing himself. “I’ll walk along the streets, I’ll be among people, and I won’t feel lonely. I’m one of them even though they don’t realize it, they don’t recognize me in their blind haste.”
“I’ll stay. Maybe the rain is not a bully at all, maybe it’s just a reminder that you can’t hide from what’s inside you, from the pain that eats you, no matter how strongly you wish to avoid it. I’ll stay. I won’t go home. Nothing that waits for me there can help me. I don’t want to see their false smiles. I don’t care about their stupid cake. I don’t need their fake love. I don’t care because they don’t care.”
The rain let up. Passers-by kept running past a small wet figure frozen in its desperate try to prove the point.