The clouds appear to the East, down near Elbow Cay. Down there, it must be raining, on the old red and white lighthouse we climbed a few years ago, on the one basketball court we have seen in the Abacos.
Down there, mothers are scurrying to pull dried laundry off the lines, or perhaps they don’t, used to the summer downpours, which are followed again by summer heat, and the clothes will be just a little cleaner with rain water when they do dry, later today, or tomorrow. If you needed the clothes tonight, or first thing, well then you would get up wouldn’t you, out of your chair, off the sofa, away from the air conditioning and out the door, but if you don’t you might as well not.
Up here, the sun is still shining. Maybe the breeze is freshening a bit but it was a touch anyway before I saw the clouds, so it can’t be from the storm, no just an ocean breeze on an island in the sea, alert the media.
The clouds are a little darker now, is that wind south, south-east, hard to tell, but they appear to be headed this way, it’s three now, maybe five, six they’ll be here. Plenty of time to get ready, plenty of time to prepare, it’s one thing about being on an island that’s basically flat, north, south, east, west, you can see the skies and the clouds as they gather.
Not like life you think to yourself, walking home, a bag of shells on your shoulder, mask in hand, not like life at all really. In life, you wake up one day with a lover, a partner a friend, and then you go home that night to sleep alone. In life, clients cancel contracts, pets die, planes fly into buildings with loved ones aboard, no, that’s life. Unpredictable, chaos, destinies altered, paths and journeys changed, heck you don’t even know what’s going to happen on the way back to the house, you could stop to cool off and get bit by a passing shark, a heart attack could drop you and you’d never know it.
No, you don’t get to see the storms roll in in life. You’re stationary in a spot and doors keep opening and storms are upon you. Just like that.
Your feet are the only ones on the beach, you’re the only one on the beach as you walk home, you hear thunder behind you, distant but not as far as you thought it would be.
The storm must be in the cut by now, choppy going for anyone headed south, going north you would ride the waves, the wind behind, the bow up as a wave passes faster than you underneath you, and then down the bow goes, not the hard smack of ocean against the boat like if you are going into the waves, into the wind, but the gentle drop down off the front of the wave, the spray goes left and right, not into you.
Your mother was a storm you realize, and she passed away a year ago next Friday it hits you. She was a storm, the kind of a storm that circles around a few times, not that you mind the warm rain she bathed you in, the days of sun far making up for the clouds.
You pick up a small flat stone, you’d called them mermaid dollars with her, this one was a quarter, change perhaps for a mermaid parking meter somewhere. She could swim on up and leave what? Mermaids don’t have cars or bikes, but perhaps they need change nonetheless and you keep it for her.
Work, a storm. The legal stuff storms.
But you have to admit you saw them coming, really now didn’t you. Your father died fast, your mother slow. You had time to sit with your kids and then fly and drive to her and sit while she said good-bye. She was a storm you saw coming though, and she wasn’t a storm at the beginning was she?
So you can see the storms just like here. You see them form out there, and move towards you. But you have to have your eyes open, you have to be willing to see, if you walk with your head down, looking at the beach, you won’t see the clouds swirl, you won’t see the flashes in the distance, you might not hear the rumble, until it’s upon you.
The rain is warm, at your back, here far earlier than you thought it would be, it washes the salt and the sand, it pings on your backpack, it mixes the salt in your hair and runs down your face.
The wind is up, the sky is dark, the pings of rain start to sting a bit, the water is the calmest place and in you go.
Floating, as the raindrops make a million splashes on the sea, floating as the noise is louder, then louder still, a mist rises from the water, floating, on your back you feel the rain on you through the water.
All you can hear is the rain, the loud pings echoing around you, that and the crackle of the rocks of the reef below.