Thursday, August 26, 2010


On the tin roof above the patio, the beads of rain thrummed throughout the night, flowing into the rusty grooves and down the slanted canals, trickling off just beyond the porch. She sat there in the rocking chair, humming to herself a tune her mother once taught her when she was young. The nearby grass around the proximity of the house swayed with the bursts of wind that pushed from every direction, swirling droplets through the air and against the peeled wood exterior. Her face dripped with water, yet she refused to go in just yet.

As she sat there humming her mother’s tune, the chaffed hands she had used to work with throughout the day seemed at ease. They clasped the pair of birch knitting needles, moving in and out of the yarn with the same rhythm of the rain. Her voice hummed lowly, keeping tempo with her chair as it swayed back and forth.

Her eyes kept moving away from her task at hand, beyond the coarse oak posts that held up the roof, past the reeds that grew on the other side of the lawn, far into the sea of volatile clouds that clashed with blotches of slate and charcoal above.

She looked back down at her hands, veiny and worn, the skin loose and more pale than ever. Dirt had accumulated under her nails, still dark and wet, like the muddy yard around her. Small rivers flowed past the house, blending with puddles and small lakes that had begun to form. A flash in the sky kissed the puddles for just a second, then once again, and again, in rapid succession as loud crackles shook the glass window beside her. Only a gas lantern hanging above her illuminated the spot on the porch where she sat, alone throughout the night, waiting for the rain to pass through.

For eight hours she sat there throughout the storm, watching the sky collapse upon the earth, giving back to which it had taken from. Her dress was now damp with moisture, a few strands of her thin hair soaked against her face. By then the corroded holes in the roof had allowed the rain to soak well into the porch, producing a thin layer above the planks – just enough to soak into her leather boots and into her woolen socks. She winced her face and curled her toes, yet the inside of her boots remained soggy, causing her to squirm a bit, twisting her legs while sitting. On her right arm, which was exposed closest to the deluge that fell beyond the porch, beads of water decorated her skin with merciless chill, causing her to brush her forearm against her already saturated dress.

For many more hours, the rain continued to come down, beating the ground without abandon, surrounding her with a boggy terrain of improbable escape. Alas, she remained seated in her chair, looking afar and into the constant sputters that illuminated the evening sky. This was her sanctum, surrounded and alone.

- B.J.H.

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