Thunder

I woke up feeling depressed. I felt like a heavy sack of watery sand was covering me head to toe. I had had a dream about my land lord kicking me out and was struggling to find a place to live. The panic of the nightmare still clung to me as I tried to rub the memory of it out of my eyes.

I struggled out of bed like a pregnant woman. Opening the door to my balcony I looked out at the world which was grey and overcast and showing very likely signs of rain later on. I tried to figure out what to do with my day before work later that evening. I had a couple of things needing my attention since I went to visit family, so I tasked myself with their completion.

It was later in the day that I began to get ready for work and the sky began to rumble.

There is a curious change on earth when the sky rumbles. The birds are hushed. The winds are slowed. The sky turns a dark purple or green or blue and light is dimmed. The streets lamps, in their confusion, think that it is evening at 4pm and come on, shining their ignorant beams on a rapidly emptying street. I was one of the only poor fools who had to go outside in order to get to the train station. As I entered the street, I looked to the west where the dark, ominous clouds were blocking out where the City should be. I looked at my small bright pink umbrella and navy blue rain jacket and prayed that what I had would be enough to keep me from the deluge that was sure to come. I had a 6 minute walk to the subway station.

The people around me were scurrying. When do New Yorkers ever scurry unless they have the impending threat of torrential downpour? New Yorkers hurry to be sure, but scurrying is an event only for summer thunderstorms. My depression became curiosity the farther I went from home. It felt like each step swept away another person into a doorway and hushed another bird. I rounded a corner and was the only person on the street. I walked like I was in a dream, but all my senses were alert. I kept looking at the sky to try and determine when the rain would come.

My mind went back to a memory of India. It was 2008 and I was in the summer of my Junior Year. I was touring a Nrityagram (dancing village) in the rural outskirts of Bangalore. The tour guide was walking us back to a dancing stage that was covered in fine green grass and surrounded by swaying trees. It was monsoon season, so at any moment the sky could open up and we could all be covered by water. The guide was explaining how the sacred the stage was when, as if a button was pushed, there was a hush on our group of two dozen people. Indians and Americans alike were silenced by what felt like a finger going up our spines. I remember the hair on the back of my neck rising. “It’s going to rain! Run to the tarp!” Someone yelled, and like a group of antelope we all ran like hell to a blue tarp a few hundred feet away. I looked to my left and saw the rain, like a thin vail of white silk, coming toward us. I could taste the mist that proceeded it as I inhaled, galloping for the safety of the tarp. I remember laughing at how silly life can be when the rain comes hard and leaves all to the mercy of the water.

I was back on that empty street in New York. There was no wind, but the trees were dropping seeds. BANG! PLOP! SPLASH! SPLAT! I kept thinking the sounds were an early sign of falling blobs of rain, but on every BING! I inspected the windshield of the cars and saw no water. I pulled my pink umbrella out of my bag when I felt the finger go up my spine. My senses were on edge. I felt alert. Then, like the sound of a bag of marbles falling to the ground, the rain came. I whipped my umbrella up as fast as I could, feeling the thunder boom and the weight of the humidity that had pushed me into my bed that morning manifest itself into rain drops pounding on my temporary pink nylon roof.

I laughed. I laughed hard. I don’t know what was funny. The few humans still on the street scurried from their hiding places like roaches and ran for better shelter. I felt better, more awake, my dreary mood washing off of me and soaking my jeans. I slowed my pace and took an extra few minutes to get anywhere, chuckling as I did at how quickly the sky can change life and mood.

May 12, 2013 at 7:29 pm by Natalie Allen