I check my watch as we leave for our walk to make sure it’s not later than I think. The black clouds moving quickly overhead have shaded the sun so much that we watch it turn from afternoon to night in an instant. Our walks are sacred and I hesitate closing the door behind me. I decide to return quickly to get the dusty umbrella in the basket by our shoes and Kojo’s never-yet-worn, red rubber boots. We head down the stairs and are immediately hit with a different kind of air. After weeks of humid, hot days, we feel the sensation of fresh coolness fill our noses and dry our cheeks. I see Kojo’s eyes narrow as a gust of wind lifts the dust and small gravel from the ground and sends it flying. I can feel my hair being liberated from my head as the wind carries it up, around and back again.
I’ve seen tropical rainstorms before and can sense when a big one is coming. This is the moment before the rain that sets everything off its course alerting all involved to get ready. We decide to sit next to the gate and watch. I imagine how full Kojo’s boots will fill with water when the showers start. I plan the fast retreat back home. I test the umbrella a few times. Kojo is following the black clouds in the sky with one hand on his head as if he’s afraid to lose his hair. We sit and watch and wait.
Many images, thoughts and moments later, we are still before the rain. It has yet to come. Restless and dryer than before, I take Kojo back upstairs.
I am writing this now after being woken up by the crashing rain that is pouring down outside. I can see the lightening brighten up my bedroom for an instant and then wait for the distant thunder to follow. When I check on Kojo, he is still fully asleep although his eyes never really ever fully close.
The rain has finally come.
It’s painting the new road outside blacker, whitening the tiny mosque’s single minaret, and cleaning the red plastic chair that Kunga left outside. The lightening and thunder come together to rattle the wall where the folded, dry umbrella leans and Kojo’s rainboots stand still empty and new.
6 thoughts on “Before the Rain”
What a clever way to describe incoming rain and the changes it brings! I could feel the change coming!
I remember my first tropical rains when I was living in Japan. I woke in the middle of the night to what I thought was the shower running,. I was shocked at how loud the rain was and it just went on and on. I was pretty sure the whole area would be flooded but not a single puddle left in the morning. We experienced lots of rains like that, nothing like home.
What an amazing piece of writing, both parts are married together beautifully. Your description is so vivid, I never want the writing to end. Thank you
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I hope Kojo gets to break in those boots sooner than later. Another beautiful slice, thank you Vo.
“We sit and watch and wait.”
This is so heartwarming! The beauty in waiting is always powerful!
Oh, how I love your writing. The waiting, the final arrival of the rain. Your last paragraph, with the contrast between the newness and change that the rain brings against the unused umbrella and “Kojo’s rainboots…still empty and new” really brings the whole piece together. Though I know the tropical rainstorms pass quickly, I wait to hear what Kojo will wake to.