When Rumii met Miyaa by Angela Sheldon is a tribute to women who dare to love despite ordeals. Rumii is audacious and affectionate, Miyaa is reserved and sensitive. Through these temperamental personalities, Sheldon weaves a story about secrecy and sublime pleasures.
The novelette begins with Rumii yearning to return to her quaint, hilly hometown – Rawalahi. She is engulfed by nostalgia and her stay has barely begun but she is already suffocated with all the old stories caretakers have bombarded her with. However, amid all the gossip, the reader is introduced to Miyaa – Rumii’s childhood playmate who has been in the estate next door with her son, separated from her husband. A few moments later, Rumii notices Miyaa for the first time – many years later and it somehow feels as if she has known her for a lifetime. To find the mother and her child, to see Miyaa one more time becomes her life’s purpose. As Miyaa and Rumii get to know each other, the story becomes a classic will they, won’t they. What happens when Rumii’s stubbornness meets Miyaa’s apprehensions? Will Miyaa and Rumi finally find love? Will they ever meet again? The answer to these questions lies in the pages of When Rumii Met Miyaa.
Together, Rumii and Miyaa discover each other and love. Through confusion, passion, longing and romance, the protagonists learn to unlearn. Ultimately, the book reads like their relationship held a mirror to the realities of their lives.
When Rumii Met Miyaa is a slim read, spanning over only seventy pages. The book isn’t necessarily ‘unputdown-able’ but if you have a spare hour or two, you can easily complete it. The novelette makes a decent attempt at unravelling the lives of Rumii and Miyaa but falls short in bringing out the vexations and burgeoning fear of being in a queer relationship. The characters are rendered simply, the plot progresses linearly and weighty complexities are addressed obliquely over a few pages towards the end. The length of the book is advantageous and disadvantageous. What makes for a quick, simple read also makes less space for the author Angela Sheldon to develop the storyline, characters and address important anxieties about being queer.