Writer’s Block: Chance of Showers

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

A small rumble of thunder sounded overhead Tuesday evening. So gentle was the sound that at first I couldn’t tell if I’d heard thunder or my neighbor moving something next door. I turned on the light outside and cracked open my front door while Stephen Colbert’s image glowed from my television set as he stood making political quips during his nightly monologue on The Late Show.

One of my neighbors was sitting in the gloom, enjoying the relative cool of the evening air. It was humid, as it has been, but the air loses much of its bite once the sun goes down and the furnace-like heat dies down.

“Did you hear that?” I asked him. “Was that thunder?”

“I thought I heard something,” he said.

I squinted up into the night sky, trying to see if the starshine was being blotted out by cloud cover, and realizing too late that the glow from my porch light would dampen my ability to see the stars if there weren’t any clouds blocking them from view.

My neighbor and I exchanged a few more pleasantries. I said I hoped it would rain. I love the sound of summer rain at night. It’s soothing and makes for a perfect lullaby, but, as I lay beneath a heap of covers a short while later, no drops of water pattered against my windowpanes.

Then Wednesday morning, I heard another faint rumble. It was more of a grumble, like a hungry stomach. I peeked outside and saw I’d risen to a grey day. Grey, and dry. The power went out just as I was preparing to step outside. It didn’t sputter and flicker. There was no crash of thunder or sudden gust of wind. It just went out with a soft sigh and a sudden silence.

Still not a drop of rain had fallen.

I thought, what gives? How does the power go out before there’s a storm to wreak havoc on the lines and transformers?

With no more time to spare to think about it, I locked up and headed off to work. Large, fluffy clouds tinted in shades of bluish grey surrounded the dome of sky above me, promising rain, I hoped. Not long after I arrived at the office that promise was fulfilled.

And like many summer rainstorms in Texas, the deluge was fierce but brief. The water cascaded on the street in front of our building, echoing on the roof and walls of our office, like flat drums. Wednesdays are busy days, though. And as much as I love a summer storm, I couldn’t spare more than a moment to look out the window and see the wind-induced slant to the lines of water falling from above. Another moment later and I was once again engrossed in my work.

It reminded me of a reverse version of Ray Bradbury’s short story, All In a Summer Day. Similar to the way young Margot missed the single hour of sunshine that breaks through the years’ long rainstorms on the planet Venus, I had missed the one moment of rain to have fallen after so many long, hot, sunny summer days.

It’s not so bad, though. The rains left behind the clouds, which kept the day cool and comfortable. I’ll take it.

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