It was a very cold autumn day outside. The leaves were flying to and frot, whooshing their way through the few people who rushed by, people who weren’t out there looking for entertainment or relaxing. All they wished for was to get home really fast.
There was this girl, though, who just sat there on the wooden bench near a creepy-looking tree. Contrary to the people walking a few feet in front of her sporting their expensive coats, she didn’t seem so affected by the cold weather despite the few humble winter clothes she wore.
She didn’t pay much attention to the rushing people. All she wanted was to stare at the cloudy sky above her, like she always did, at least until boredom would settle in and instead she would look at the concrete floor underneath her winter boots. It was the daily routine, and drifting off to the realm of daydreams was part of it as well.
“What?” she wondered, “Martin?” She knew she didn’t put much effort into those words.
“Are you alright? No one knew where you had gone to.”
“I just wanted to be alone for a while.” She finally looked up and flashed a gentle smile to the wind.
“At the park? Now?”
She looked around. There were fewer people walking around. The clouds didn’t look friendly at all.
“It might rain in any moment,” he said.
Cynthia nodded slowly and thoughtfully.
“I know,” she said to herself.
“You seem troubled.”
A cold wind brushed by and she curled up a little, crossing her arms tightly against her chest.
“I was just thinking about the book,” she said.
“The one you want to write for your big, big project?”
She nodded, already feeling the cold.
“I just don’t seem to be able to make up my mind,” she said, “I don’t know if writing it in Spanish is the best idea.”
The skies roared. She looked up and wondered if raindrops were soon coming. It didn’t seem there was much time left for it to happen.
“But that’s your native language. It only makes sense that you do.”
“Does it?” she wondered. “You know, I have a thing when it comes to English and Spanish.”
“Yeah. I don’t know if it’s due to the fact that I’ve never lived in an English-speaking country, or because of the amounts of movies, music, and video games I’ve played in English. But in general, the language has become, like, my land of fantasy. Makes me feel at home.”
She looked up at a couple who were walking by, arguing about something unimportant as their feet crunched the autumn leaves.
“Whenever I think about something that is not part of my …” she paused, thinking, “…reality, I think about it in English. Everyone and everything within my imagination will communicate with it, as if it were their native language.”
“I see. Then, if so, Spanish appeals to reality?”
She nodded, feeling the last dried out leaf fall on her back as it detached from the branches of the creepy-looking tree above her.
“Spanish means reality, my reality, real situations that are possible and plausible around my life. I’ve been using it for all of my life, after all. I’ve tried writing my big story in Spanish, but it just doesn’t feel right. I don’t feel the magic.”
She stared idly at the people walking in front of her.
“If I imagine things in Spanish, it’s probably because it’s something that can actually happen.”
“Like a giant meteor hitting the planet.”
“Right …” she said, nodding sarcastically, “No, that would be in English.”
“But it is possible.”
“Still, a bit unrealistic and far-fetched given our current situation.”
The skies roared again. There was almost no one left in that section of the park and she wondered for how long she would be able to remain dry.
“Buying a new car?”
“Spanish,” she answered.
“Fighting an epic battle against evil dragons?”
Cynthia chuckled. “That’d be in English.”
“What about finding your true love?”
She thought about that for a moment as she also wondered whether or not a raindrop had hit her head. That was actually a good question, and she knew why.
“Uhh.” She knew what to say, but she wasn’t sure if saying it would please her in any way. “I’ve thought of it both in Spanish and English.”
“Depends on the closeness I have with whoever I’m fantasizing about, I suppose.”
A lightning strike illuminated the skies and shook those who heard. The camouflaged birds among the trees wandered about, disturbed and scared.
“Regardless of all of that, I’m not that good when it comes to thinking of the right word for the context. I might know the rules and everything, but, my vocabulary is not that far-reaching. At least not in English.”
“That’s not true.”
She gazed at the skies and closed her eyes. She felt a raindrop fall right on her forehead.
“I’ve seen how you write, Cynthia. It might not be an overly-refined vocabulary, but it isn’t the most basic English ever either. Plus, you know there are tons of sites that can help you find the word you are looking for, and, along the way, you learn them.”
The cold was real and raindrops where already starting to fall, but she didn’t really care much about it. Martin went on.
“In the end, you are always learning and getting better, finding new ways to write and express your ideas.”
She yawned, tired of waiting. Another big raindrop hit the empty side of the bench.
“Maybe,” she said, not sure if she was paying attention. Thoughts about the languages were still revolving around her head. “It’s weird, though. My brain automatically picks the language for whatever thing I’m about to imagine. I don’t choose consciously. It simply happens, and sometimes I’m surprised with the unconscious choice.”
“Your land of fantasy turned out to be real?”
She chuckled again.
“So to say! Sometimes I might fantasize about nice situations that are pretty unlikely to happen, but for some reason, and without knowing at first, I do so in Spanish. Then, they do happen. It surprises me.”
“Deep inside, you know it isn’t that far-fetched, then. It’s possible.”
Cynthia nodded slowly, still staring at the dark and cloudy skies with sleepy eyes, feeling the whooshing breeze of autumn caress her face. She was still surprised that the rain had not yet come.
“Yeah. Sometimes it’s kind of the opposite, though.” She smiled to herself. “Nonetheless, I like how the thing works for that matter.”
“Wouldn’t writing in Spanish help the story feel more real to you?”
She shook her head with certainty as she looked around the park. A splattering noise was spreading all over the place and was slowly growing louder.
“No, not at all. Like I said, I’ve tried but it didn’t work well. They just don’t belong in this world. They belong within my fantasy, their reality.”
“You know what to do, then, girl.”
The skies roared and a second lightning strike flashed the skies again. It had really become a stormy day, and unexpectedly so for most of the people. She was alone, thinking of how tremendously nice it would have been if she were at home lying on her bed all warm and cozy while watching movies.
“Cynthia!” shouted a bumpy voice right next to her.
She startled, snapped out of her thoughts, and looked around while realizing her clothes were already starting to get actually wet from the rain.
A man stood right next to her trying to open his faulty umbrella to cover from the rain. He carried a backpack and wore casual clothes, just like her.
“Martin! Me asustaste!” she said, realizing that they were completely alone. “Dónde estabas?”
“Oops. Lo siento, Cyn,” said the college student as he let her enter the safe zone under the umbrella, “Tuve que ayudar a un amigo con algo antes de salir de la universidad. No me lo esperaba. Tampoco me esperaba que lloviera tan temprano.”
Cynthia smiled and shook her head gently. She grabbed him by the arm, the one holding the umbrella, and they both undertook their leave from the bench and the creepy-looking tree.
“No te preocupes. Todo bien,” she said to him.
Martin looked at her and offered a friendly smile and side hug. He didn’t really feel like asking if she had been talking to herself again.