Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Storm (or, the last AYIP that I have to catch up on)

Table - 400 words
Sarah Van Name

You slept through the worst of it. Before I went to bed I clicked on the TV and saw the solemn, rumpled weatherman point at the white circle, rotating slowly like a dying merry-go-round as it drifted inland. “Looks like it’s gonna hit us,” I told you. As we fell asleep, my arm wrapped around your waist, my body curved around yours as if to protect you, I could already hear the rain starting to hum its primal lullaby.

You didn’t wake up when the thunder crashed and shook the frame of the bed; you didn’t wake up at the lightning that spasmed across the surface of the blanket so bright I could see every detail of the room. You didn’t wake up when I pulled back the covers, extracted my hand from yours, and got up.

The cat was cowering under a table in the corner and hissed when she saw me. The power had gone out. There was no slight buzz, no slip of water in the pipes, just the rain and thunder and silence. The air conditioning was trapped for now, but soon – tomorrow – the hot air would start to seep in and it would get muggy, eventually unbearable. But for now it was quiet and cool.

When I was a child, in the winter I would sit on the floor by the front door and look out the window to wait for my dad’s headlights to approach down the driveway. I’d stare out for minutes and minutes, looking at the shapes and lines of the trees, the bushes, the shadows cast by the guide-lights on the side of the pavement. When I was a child I was scared of storms. And I was scared now. So I sat on the wooden beams and looked out the window, not waiting for anything.

I had been there long enough that I found the cat slinking under my hand, when there came a crack of light that reached down from the sky as if it were cutting it in two with scissors, reached down to my neighbor’s tree. As if it were happening in a slow-motion movie, the tree split, and fell, intersecting with the power line that stretched between the houses. The line fell with it. When they hit the pavement, a seizure of light traveled down the street, following the water that poured and poured across it.

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