SEXUAL ORIENTATION/ RELATIONS:
Lei sat and watched the rain course down the thin sheet of glass that stood between the outside and her. She crouched on the windowseat staring, her watery, gray-blue eyes reflecting the rain. Reaching up a small white hand, she unconsciously tugged at the tangled mess that was her dark, frizzy brown hair. It had been weeks since the sun came out, warm and golden, friendly. But then the cold, endless rain set in again, and everything golden was washed out of sight, into the gutters. How she missed the sun! She missed its fiery, fierce and tender tendrils reaching out to touch her pale cheeks and light her eyes up with
remembrance. Memories of Sol. Sunlight. Spring. Happiness that once was hers; childlike, dancing, springing, skipping barefoot in the sun-kissed grasses. But the torrents of bleak wetness washed the memories away, leaving her a thin, haggard young women, with almost no trace of the child she had been.
Yet still she was a child, of thirteen; a little older than childhood, perhaps, but so close she could still delight in the pastimes of her younger peers. Looking in a mirror, or at her face reflected in the window, Lei found it hard to believe that her strained face had been line- as well as carefree, not too long ago. Dark circles appeared under her eyes. Her skin drooped from her bones like cobwebs and moss hanging from the limbs of dead trees.
Sighing, Lei lifted her tired body, like so much dead weight, off the seat and into her room. On her knees, she went through the boxes in her closet and under her bed, searching for a bit of proof that she had been a child, some time long ago. Opening a box of old photographs, she came upon a tattered, faded picture of a little girl, with long dark hair in many small braids, a happy smile on her cheery dimpled face and a sparkle in her eye, sitting on a swing underneath a blossoming tree as her laughing mother stood behind her. Pink blossoms stood out in their hair, as well as the breathless flush of summer across their cheeks. The sun was shining, and many other children and mothers ran about, joy written, frozen on their faces. Lei stared, enraptured, at the girl in the picture, realizing that it was--had been--she. How could she have changed so much from that happy little girl, in only a few years? It seemed like that part of her was gone, vanished forever, drowned beneath oceans of rain.
Lei remembered a story that she had read, about children living on the planet Venus. On Venus it rained and rained, and the sun came out only for one hour every seven years. In the story a girl named Margot, from Earth, had seen the sun, and she might go back to Earth, and so the other children in her school hate her. And when the sun arrives, the other children lock her in the closet, and go out to enjoy the sun themselves. Then, when the sun goes away, they feel bad and let Margot out. But she missed the sun, her one reason for perseverance.
"'I think the sun is a flower, that blooms for just one hour,'" murmured Lei softly, quoting a poem that Margot had written about the sun. A tear rolled down her cheek and fell, the same color as the rain.