Oh look, a two-fer. ‘Encounter’ is the prompt; twenty minutes, the limit…
The clouds have been building toward this moment for hours, days, preparing for the onslaught ahead. We have been waiting for it- the world and I. Eagerly, almost desperately, waiting for a release from the suns pitiless gaze that has so burnt us both. Her scent reaches us vaguely, lingering in the down-turned leaves, mingling with that of the fresh grass that has been so carefully brushed and trimmed. “I’m coming.” Her breath tells us so it winds through and around, raising the hairs on my arms, flirting with the sturdy trees dotting the field. Far off, reaching, searching, a dim hoof-beat calls to my ears; a secret promise between the approaching storm and I, a recognition of our long anticipated meeting.
Coyly, the storm sends the sketch of a shower; teasing the ground and I with the soft, sleek droplets that bear an affectionate greeting. This tentative shower marks the beginning of our next encounter, fast approaching. A meeting that, like all those before, will be more than likely too short for the both of us but worth all the more for its brevity. As the tempest drums closer, the rain falls faster, harder and thicker, building excitement for the upcoming fury that I have been waiting for.
Suddenly she’s arrived, trumpeting in all her glory as I take refuge under the porch’s meager shelter, the timid wood doing its best to protect me from the storm. The thunder fractures the air with an explosive burst of sound, pulsating in my bones, reverberating deeply there as if loathe to lose its grip, chasing whips of adrenaline through my veins. In thick sheets that obscure and disfigure the rain rails mercilessly onto the eager ground below; pounding, driving, churning itself into the soil that had craved its attention for so long. Nearby a proud maple stands, its leaves growing tattered under the storms fury, still reaching upward, eager for everything.
Like the tree I want more of the storm, to feel more of it. Against Mother’s voice echoing in the backdrop of my mind, cautioning me to stay in the porch’s flimsy shelter; I tiptoe down the steps, moving to stand on the flagstones where I can feel everything at once. In moments the storm has changed me, my gray shirt becoming darker, almost the same hue as the steely clouds above. The rain pelts my skin, as eager to meet me as it had been to greet the earth below. It sluices downward, slicing, cutting, seeking, to fracture my existence even as it affirms my solidity.
Skin soaked with her familiar and icy regard, my teeth chatter and my head tilts back involuntarily, raising my face to the storms revealing fingers, darkened hair sliding wetly, saturated with her. My clothes fit themselves to my body, clinging like a second skin, their colors muted and deepened, reflecting the cold rage above. My blue eyes close as I revel in her attention, greeting her in my mind like a long absent friend, a sorely missed lover who has returned to me.
I almost wish that the storm could break me like it would like to, that I would flow and melt with the water winding down my limbs. She keeps nothing from me, lets me have everything and nothing all at once, powerfully breaking myself from myself. The wrath and exuberance of her drive away all thought and reason until I am stripped to the mere fundamentals, to the bare existence of who and what I am. Her primordial rage cuts through everything, carving away all but the center of my existence. She would have that too- if she was able -but reluctantly I draw back as her excitement etches itself into the fabric of the sky.
A voice, a rough hand, pull me backwards clumsily onto the earthly wooden boards that I had forsaken an eternity ago. Dimly a frantic tongue scolds me for my transgression, but it might as well have railed at the magnificence above. Still caught in the storms embrace, I am unable to comprehend what my mother seeks to get across. My eyes watch the storms fleeting silver arrows as they stretch across the steel purple sky, wondering what it would be to be caught by them. To be one with the storm that lived and breathed without needing anyone around it.
She moves on quickly, leaving me behind under the wood and aluminum, suddenly aware of how icy cold I have become. Shivering, I head indoors as her echoes move on, lingering with me even as she turns her regard to someone else awaiting her attentions. She has forgotten me already, doesn’t need me now that our meeting has been concluded and our duty carried out.
As I walk across the floor, creating my own lakes and rivers, I am disappointed that our tryst had wound to its end. And yet, I’m happy as well. Quickly I towel off, slipping into dry clothes and drying my hair. Walking into the kitchen I pop a mug of milk into the microwave and grab the mix from out on the shelf. Still strong in the air, her smell lingers amidst that of a newly awakened world, a promise to be renewed again and again.