The rain begins to fall when they’re in the park.
Inaya feels the first few drops, hears the sound of it– then wonders if she’s imagining it. The sound of the rain grows louder, but she doesn’t feel any more drops of water.
The swing she’s sitting on is below a tree. She’s safe for now, but Amal–
“It’s freezing, isn’t it?”
Inaya turns around, smiling. She simply nods, as Amal– a soaked Amal– sits down on the swing next to hers.
The tree is dripping onto them now, the leaves heavy with the water they’re holding.
Somehow, Inaya doesn’t care. The only thing she cares about in this moment is the girl seated on the swing next to her, the girl whose hair is all wet, whose eyelashes have water droplets on them. The girl who looks like she knows every secret of the universe, and is smiling like she’s willing to let Inaya in on them.
“Does it make you miss home? The rain?”
Amal’s voice is soft, her eyes full of warmth: it’s almost like the sun is peeping out from behind the grey clouds.
When Amal leans forward, Inaya’s eyes fall shut instinctively. It’s all perfect– the rain, the empty park, petrichor, how Amal looks at her.
And then she pulls away.
The rain slows down, reduces to a drizzle.
Amal’s eyes are wide now, her mouth hanging open like she lost the words that she was about to say. She blinks furiously, and Inaya’s not sure if they’re tears or just raindrops.
“I do miss home,” she answers Amal’s question, more solemn, “I always will.”
Amal looks calmer, a little more understanding when she realizes that Inaya isn’t running away.
“Why’d you leave, then?” she asks, but she thinks she knows.
The rain is heavy again, the sound of it everywhere– but none of them care.
Inaya leans forward again, taking Amal’s hands in hers. She kisses her– a gentle, quick kiss– and tightens her hold on Amal’s hands.
“So I could have this,” she says, “Sometimes, Amal, to get something important, you have to let go of something important. You’re my something important. And home was too, but I had to let it go. It was time to leave, Amal. And this, it’s the start of something new. The start of feeling alive again.”
There are certainly tears in Amal’s eyes now, and she doesn’t even try to blink them away.
“Rebirth,” Inaya says, and she’s crying now too. She misses home so much, she doesn’t think she can ever truly let go of it. But she has to.
“You’re my home now, Amal. You’re it. You’re my renaissance.”