Editor’s Note: Happenstance is one of those words I always have trouble defining. If you look it up in the dictionary, it’ll tell you it’s a “chance happening or event; coincidence.” But, for me, happenstance has a deeper connotation, it’s more fate-driven than mere irony. This piece perfectly captures the definition I can never seem to find, that idea of a fateful encounter which changes everything—and whether it’s for better or for worse, we’ll never know.
—Bailey Tulloch, R2 Monthly Contest Committee Head
A Light Lost in the Rain
by Isaiah Tristan
Childhood memories are a blur. When we walked around, our eyes darted everywhere, blurring our vision and filling our heads with more sights than we could perceive.
As we got older, after years of being told to sit still, we learned to keep our eyes straight. We walked through life determined. Focused on our goal and nothing else. Whether going to the store or to a life-changing meeting, we walked with our backs straight, eyes forward. We walked with eyes that were cold, that did not turn to greet the other eyes moving past. Every now and then, something would catch our attention, however. A smell of fresh bread might turn our head to the corner bakery, blurring our vision and introducing us to the small glow coming from inside the shop. Each time we turned, we turned back, forsaking the light and continuing on with our business.
What a chance it was that I would see the light of your face in a puddle of water that rainy evening. I had dropped my phone while waiting in a line for a glass of lemonade at the park. When I bent down to pick it up, I saw your reflection. While I was standing there, thinking of how to approach you, I overheard you say you forgot your wallet to the cashier, and I jumped to pay for you. We walked and talked, sometimes looking at each other, sometimes our eyes darting around. The rain stopped, and the sky opened up just for us. I showed you the stars and told you all of their names. You showed me your heart, and things were never the same. Everything was so bright then, when I could see your face, and blurry when you were near me. We left the park late that night, and I never found you again. Neither the phone number nor the address you left led me to you.
It has been years, and I fear you do not remember. I wonder if you are sharing the stars with someone else, as I once did with you. Even so, just once more in my life, I wish I…
[A doorbell is heard, and the man goes to answer. The story is never finished.]
April is the cruelest month, breeding/ Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing/ Memory and desire, stirring/ Dull roots with spring rain.
-T. S. Eliot
R2: The Rice Review
Rice University's undergraduate literary magazine. Here you can find event updates, monthly writing contest winners, and opinions by the R2 staff on what's new, interesting, or subject to discussion in the literary and arts world.