Creative Writing by Delia Bazzurri
Like a ray of sunshine
It was a morning like every other one, the roads swarmed with people and the cars stood still at the traffic light. The sky was tinged with grey and a few drops began to fall lightly wetting the soil. It had been raining for weeks now, which was actually quite normal being in Ireland, but for Noemi the situation began to be unsustainable. She couldn’t stand it anymore, the rain. Not even a miserable ray of sunshine to warm her face, how sad.
Like every morning she was going to school to improve her English and like every morning she would have arrived in the classroom soaking wet. Umbrellas, she found out, were unusable, the wind prevented their operation and so Noemi decided to use a simple purple cape. Not that it was useful for anything, because of the strong wind that was blowing those days in Cork.
The lesson passed slowly, the teacher was explaining something and she was looking out of the window, imagining the sun shining and dreaming of the warm light that caressed her face in the mornings. But nothing, rain and just rain. How boring. She turned her gaze to the blackboard: always the same grammar problem, nothing interesting.
She returned to look at the window pane, full of little droplets that slowly flowed down, competing with each other to see who could reach the sidewalk first. She flew mentally into the clouds, searching for her country where the sun always shines. A grin formed on her face: how beautiful the sun is. She found it simply amazing, a warm light that transforms all the banal moments into something magical, like a fairytale.
“Noemi, wake up!”
Oh My God! She had fallen asleep. Now the teacher stared at her, saying something similar to a lecture, what a pain!
The 12.55 bell rang, finally the end, another day of school passed. When she’d chosen Ireland as her destination, Noemi knew that it would be raining a lot but she knew that she would meet many people from other countries and make new friends. But no, in her class there was only people who spoke German: three guys from Germany and two from Austria who immediately left her alone because she didn’t speak their language. ‘But isn’t our aim to improve our English?!’ she thought constantly.
She found herself wandering through the city centre searching for something to eat when a car, a little too close to the sidewalk, passed near her and a wave of dirty water swept over her. Damn puddles! How could it get worse? The neverending rain was depressing and she found herself all dirty and wet in the middle of the city centre! What a shitty day!
With all eyes on her she would have gladly disappeared from the face of the earth. And to think that there was still two months until her return home…
Her feelings were gray, days were gray, streets were grey, everything was grey, except an old window display. Here, that was black, with a white writing ‘ENGLISH MARKET -CORK-’.
Noemi looked around to make sure no car passed at that moment and ran across the street, finding herself in front of the market entrance. She hesitated for a moment but then entered.
Inside there weren’t so many people, which was unusual given the popularity of the place. Not that it was a problem, indeed, much better this way! The fewer people that saw her, that better it was.
She stopped in front of a small stand that sold food of all kinds when a young man with short copper hair and eyes of shining blue appeared before her with a wide smile on his face.
“How can I help you, miss?”
If it could be possible, her jaw would have collapsed on the ground but immediately she realised the situation: him, very handsome guy, and her, wet and dirty. She definitely felt like an idiot. Her face became all red with embarassement and she stammered something without any sense, staring at the tips of her shoes.
“Are you okay, miss? Do you want me to call somebody?”
The tone of his voice was clearly worried. Noemi miracolusly returned to herself and began to apologize to the boy, how could she have been so clumsy? She quickly selected one of the sandwiches, paid the boy and ran breathlessly to the exit on Oliver Plunkett Street.
She looked around for a moment and realised that it had stopped raining, what a miracle! Walking along the road, her eyes flew to the sky, the clouds were thinning and she could already glimpse the deep blue so far hidden by the clouds.
“Proprio come i suoi occhi” she sighed to herself.
But just in that moment she felt a strong hold on her arm that made her turn and screaming a little before she realised that it wasn’t someone with bad intention but just the guy from the market. What was he doing there? And why did he stop her?
“Sorry if I scared you, I tried to call but you just didn’t hear me so… Well, you forgot this” and he handed her the sandwich. His cheeks were red and it seems like he was a little nervous. “Um, would you like to come to Sin É tonight? You know, I’m going to play there with my band… But only if you want, you’re not obliged!”
He definitely was nervous, it could be clearly noticed by the tone of his voice and by the continuous putting his hand behind his neck.
“You don’t have to be so nervous! Just look at me! I’m all wet and dirty, you know, there’s no need to be like that!” she said jokingly, and after a short pause she added “Well, for tonight, it would be amazing! I’m looking forward to it! But make sure you’ll reconize me, I won’t be looking so bad.”
She turned and went on down the street, finally she was laughing and the weather matched her mood. She looked at the sky and saw the first sign of sunshine after weeks.
“Seán! My name is Seán.”
The girl turned, he was still there, standing on the sidewalk.
“I’m Noemi. Delighted to meet you, Seán.” Before she finished the sentence a warm and tender ray of sunshine finally came through the clouds. The sun was finally back to shine high in the sky, warming the hearts of people and brightening the day.
The first stars began to reflect in the water of the river Lee while the city was strangely quiet despite the multitude of people pouring into the streets heading to the pubs.
Noemi just turned up at Sin É but the atmosphere was already warm and friendly. People talked about this and that, there were those who listened to the band playing and those who enjoyed their Guinness, occasionally singing a few lines of “Whiskey in the Jar” or another typical drinkin song. The girl struggled through all the people that crowded the room when she managed to get a free table to sit and enjoy the evening. After a few minutes the music ended and the band took a little break, Noemi got up in search of Seán but the crowd was too much and she, with her meter and sixty-five centimeters, couldn’t see anything, not even jumping. Resigned to the idea of not being able to talk to the market boy again, she sat down and began to look distracted at her glass of beer when someone appeared before her and a familiar, smiling face began to observe her.
“Hey Noemi, I’m glad you came! Are you enjoying the music?”
For the shock she almost knocked her beer over; it was him, it was Seán! So he saw her, even though she didn’t find him in the crowd, how embarassing!
“Yes, I love irish music!” the cheeks all red, and not from alcohol, we mean.
“Well, you were right! You look very good tonight!”
As far as possible, her face became red like fire. “Um, can I ask you something?” she said hesitantly but noticing the nod of agreement she added “Why did you invite me? I mean, I was so dirty and wet that all the normal people just tried to avoid me. Not that you aren’t a normal guy, I mean, well, you know… What I’m trying to say is…”
“Don’t worry, I understand what you’re trying to say” he said calmly, with the smile on his lips “When I first saw you, I was wondering about what had happened. But then you started to say something weird and I just thought ‘wow, she’s an interesting girl’ and, well, it’s embarassing to say this, but I just wanted to know more about you!”
Noemi didn’t know how to answer and a strange embarrassed silence fell between the two. “That’s why I asked you to meet tonight…”
“Oh, so… I hope I didn’t disappoint you… ‘Cause, well… I’m not what you think I am.”
“The only thing that I can say is that you’re the most interesting and beautiful person I have ever met! So stop making that face and smile, because I love when you’re smiling!”
She wasn’t expecting that! It was the most beautiful thing she had ever heard and without even thinking about it she started to smile when she realised a small detail “When did you see me smiling? I’ve never…”
“Now” interrupted Seán, while his freckles were coloring with a light red “But I know that also this afternoon, when the sun came out, you smiled. I saw your eyes, they were shining. That’s why I can tell you this.”
Noemi stood looking at him bewitched, what else could she do or say? Everything that Seán told her made her feel like she was in a fairy tale and all she wanted to do at that moment was to stay with him as much as possible, but her hopes were broken when the boy got up from the chair “I have to go, the guys need me. See you later Noemi.” And he disappeared into the crowd.
The music started again and Noemi continued to enjoy her beer “What kind of pub it would be without some irish music?!” a grin formed on her face.
Days and weeks passed so fast. The two of them continued to go out together but the fateful day arrived faster than expected.
“So, tomorrow you’re going home…”
They were walking along the river Lee, in a little deserted road. The moon shone high in the sky and its white light illuminated the waters of the torrent, no cloud obstructed the sight of the stars shining in the sky, it was so magical.
They stopped to observe the city in the distance with its colored lights. Noemi was leaning against the wall that served as protection and watched the quiet flow of water. The next day she would be taking the plane back home and wouldn’t be able to see Seán again, except by Skype or during the holidays; but it wouldn’t have been the same thing. She was afraid, afraid that all those strong emotions she felt within her could disappear, that all she thought she was feeling was actually fiction, because she loved those feelings, she loved Seán, and could not deny it to anyone, especially to herself!
He approached her, leaning on the wall but turning his back on the river to be able to observe the magnificent spectacle that was given to him by the Milky Way.
“Don’t be so sad, it’s not the end of the world. We’ll see each other again, I promise you, Noemi.”
He wasn’t lying, she knew it well, yet there was an ache that gripped her heart, but what? True, they never said ‘I love you’ or something like that, in fact they’d never even been holding hands or anything else that couples usually do, no, definitely they weren’t a couple, but she loved him with all herself and she was sure of it. But she wasn’t sure of what he felt toward her, in short, they were not together, okay, but they went out almost every night, they heard eachother on the phone sending a lot of messages, but this doubt did nothing but haunt her, day and night. And now that it was time to leave, she had to know. She had to reveal to him what she felt for him, but just the thought frightened her. What if he rejected her? What would she do? Would she be able to pass it like a joke? Probably not, she would burst into tears and flee as far and quickly as possible. But she had to tell him otherwise… Otherwise what? What would she have to lose? Nothing. Or everything. She had too many thoughts in her head and had to get rid of it as quickly as she could, but how? Maybe going to the pub, or somewhere else.
Just when she wanted to get away and leave, their hands touched and a thousand fireworks exploded in her head. Oh God! Her heart was beating very fast, while her eyes continued to stare at the river undeterred. Then, without even thinking about it, their hands began to approach hesitant until they closed in a tender and secure weave.
Even though from the corner of their eyes their glances crossed without any intention of detaching each other. Slowly and like a magnet, their faces came closer, more closer and intent on not stopping. Nothing else existed around them, everything had become shiny and white, leaving them only sharp in the foreground. Now their breaths were confusing, instinctively they closed their eyes and their lips joined in a sweet kiss full of affection.
Now Noemi had no more doubts, she knew that he loved her too. She could understand it from the kindness with which he caressed her cheeks, or from the security that he transmitted to her, holding her face in his hands. All of her worries had vanished, all thanks to a simple passionate kiss.