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The Rain Song MAG
I woke up that morning hating my best friend, David.
This is something that I had been feeling for a couple of weeks. It started at the beginning of the summer. David liked a girl named Bridget who was notorious for dating and breaking up with boyfriend after boyfriend. I should have known this better than anyone; Bridget and I used to be friends. But somehow I thought it would be different if she went out with David, so I helped set them up. She broke up with him after two weeks, claiming there was no chemistry. What she really meant was she was bored.
David was devastated. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that this was a regular occurrence. He didn’t know it then because she was his first girlfriend, but he falls hard. His emotions are fragile. He didn’t understand that boys are disposable to Bridget; she dates for fun, and when she gets bored she moves on. She loves selfishly and immaturely, her passion waning with every minute.
David tried to stay away from her, especially when she acquired a new boyfriend. That is, until she called him crying, saying he was avoiding her. She told him that she couldn’t sleep because she missed him, how she had been vomiting and crying her eyes out because they weren’t friends.
He and I talked about it; I told him he should let her know it would take a while for him to get over what had happened and that after that maybe they could be friends. He agreed, but of course, that’s not what he did. On the contrary, he spent more time with Bridget, so much that he started ignoring everyone else, including me.
So, that day, I decided to call him – partly because I was sick of him ignoring me (and the rest of his friends) and partly because I needed a ride to Latin Club. Every year we have a bonfire, and normally I get really excited about it, but not this time.
He picked up on the second ring. “Hello?”
“Hi. Is David there?”
“Oh. It’s Emily.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Well, I called because I need a ride to the bonfire, but are you taking Bridget?”
“Well, yeah, I’m taking her.”
“Okay, then, I’ll just ride with someone else.”
“Because every time she’s around you ignore everyone else, and I don’t feel like being ignored today.”
For a second he seemed to have misunderstood. Then he said, “Yeah, I guess I’ve been pretty stupid about that.”
“You sure have. You can be friends with both of us, you know, though I wouldn’t necessarily advise it. But if you were going to pick, it was supposed to be me. After all she’s put you through, all the hours I spent trying to help you pick up the pieces, I get shafted. Come on, David.” I had been working on this speech all day.
Silence consumed the telephone for a moment. “You’re right. I know you are. I’m really sorry. I’ll stop doing that, I swear.”
I tried to remember what I would have sounded like if this were a trivial conversation, like we used to have. “Okay, then I guess you can take me.” I heard him chuckle. “That’s better.”
“But I have to tell you that even though I know she has a boyfriend, I really think Bridget likes me.”
I rolled my eyes, thankful that he couldn’t see my face. “You thought the same thing two weeks ago. And she said she didn’t.”
“I know.” He sighed.
“Well, I’ll tell you what I think, but it won’t make you very happy.”
“Nothing makes me happy anymore.”
Now I sighed. “She likes having a Plan B. She wants someone to fall back on if things don’t work out, and right now you’re it. You don’t deserve that. Really. You deserve someone who will make you her only plan.”
There was a short silence. “I’m going to talk to her tonight. I spent a whole week learning this song that reminds me of her – ‘The Rain Song’ by Led Zeppelin. I’m going to play it for her.”
I couldn’t believe what he was telling me. She wasn’t worth a minute of his time or a string on his guitar, but I was tired of having to fight to be his friend. “Well, I’m not going to try to stop you.”
So we went to the bonfire. I stayed away from David and Bridget, to let him do whatever he was planning to do, but as we walked back to his car afterward, he told me he hadn’t talked to her. “I didn’t do it. I just couldn’t find the opportunity. I really wanted to and I couldn’t.”
I felt terrible. I was trying to think of what to do to help as I climbed into the backseat and Bridget got in front. As he pulled out, David said, “Hey, listen to this song, you guys.” He pushed the play button on his stereo. It was “The Rain Song.”
No one said anything on the way to her house, and the ride somehow lasted exactly as long as the song. I wanted to cry. I just kept watching David’s face and that look he gets whenever he’s trying to hide his emotions. Every once in a while he glanced at her, and I watched his heart break with every chord.
David put the car into park in Bridget’s driveway. She left with a perky “Bye!” and a slam of the door. Obviously, it wasn’t much of an emotional experience for her. After she left I moved into the front seat and David started talking.
“I hope she liked it. She told me to call her later tonight.” He paused. “I really wanted to play it.”
I wanted so badly to make him realize that he didn’t need her.
“Play it for me,” I said. “I don’t want to go home anyway. Let’s go somewhere and you can play it for me.”
“Yes, seriously. Let’s go to the park. I want to hear it.”
So we went. I sat on a swing while David got his guitar. He sat next to me and started playing. I watched his fingers trace the path on the neck that he had worn down practising the same song for a week. I watched his face; he was no longer concealing his feelings. Everything he had felt since the summer was etched there. He looked like an old man who had loved, lost, and lived to tell about it.
As he neared the end of the song, he threw the pick into the grass and played with his bare hand, pouring all his passion into the strings. I wanted to cry as he finished.
“Put that down,” I said, pointing at his guitar. I walked over and enveloped him in a hug, the kind that I only shared with him: caring, compassionate, and meaningful. “You are amazing.”
He looked at me. “Thank you.”