There is a gentle but persistent rain on the morning after Thanksgiving. My neighborhood is enveloped in a gray hush, the stillness broken occasionally by the sound of tires on wet pavement or the engine exhale of a bus making stops on a route somewhere in the distance. Even the birds are subdued this morning, sheltering quietly in the trees that line my street.
From my second floor window, I watch a woman in sweatpants and parka walking her dog on the sidewalk below. Across the street, a man stands under a bodega awning munching on a tin foil-wrapped breakfast sandwich and sipping steaming coffee out of a paper cup.
How easy it would be to lay back in bed right now, I think, to allow myself to be lulled to sleep by the tap tap tap of rain on the fire escape.
victims and villains
it takes a split second to become a villain. but sometimes it's the only way to recognise the reflection staring back at you. the role of the victim made you sick, until you lost your mind in the shoes that you kept lacing on. you never felt good about yourself. then you did something so horrific it made you cry, hard, in sadness and shock and fear—that you could do it. that you could do this. that you could reach out and hit somebody. that you could say words. that you could see disgust flashing across their face.
their version of you was wrong, you know that it was, because you so rarely felt like yourself around them, they hated you so you couldn't be. you will wait for the ache in your chest to subside.
This isn't heartbreak, you think. It's just the waves of agony that supersede each other as you get over it and begin to build fantasies—new ones—where you are neither good nor bad but a person who cannot recognise their own reflection. often, you are surprised by whichever version others end up seeing, but you are just a barefoot monster running wild in a forest.
Moonset was hours ago, and I see the trees bending, leafless branches whipping an unseen foe. Wild west winds have melted the skiff of snow clinging like white lace to the sidewalks and lawns. The sky is luminescent, pale streaks of pink stain plump clouds as dawn approaches. The road is damp with released frost. Tires create a fine mist, splashing muddy water onto pristine shoes and crisply creased trousers as the business crowd hustles to work.
Children gather in tight groups waiting for the orange yellow of school buses, bundled into warm jackets and winter boots. The chilly air reflects puffs of steam as they taunt and tease each other. I think of how our tolerance of cold adapts over the course a season. Those shivering souls will stride in shorts and tee shirts come another three months given the same conditions. We're such wimps when the first frosts and snows hit in the fall.
I open the balcony door for a few minutes letting exhaust laden coolness into the apartment. Craving the sensation of caressing air on overheated damp skin; it's much warmer this morning than when I went to bed. I'm grateful for the Chinook wind's gift.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. It is 61° outside where I am now.
As a kid, the best part of Thanksgiving was dad taking me and my brother sledding on the big hill to get out of mom's hair while she was making our holiday meal.
Weather, it turns out, is arbitrary.
61°, while there should be some science on how it should make humans feel, turns out to be experienced completely different based on age, place and attitude.
I have a husband who is always telling me how great we have it having moved to Florida where it is always warm and, most of all, there is no snow for him to shovel.
He tells me about the fine weather a lot as if to convince me that residing in 61° at Thanksgiving is a compelling reason to be happy.
"You should be happy", he says
I smile to please him but my mind is wrapped up in the smells and comfort of being swaddled in two layers of clothes under my coat snow kicking up on my bright red cheeks zipping down a hill head first thinking I really could sense the fragrance of mom's turkey somewhere in the distance.
My dreamy weather!
As I sit on my couch, next to him or better in his arms, outside starts to rain. I turned my head to the window and it was such a beautiful view. The grey sky with a mix of a pink color makes it look so gorgeous, as I turn to my boyfriend to see him smiling at me and then his fingers touching so softly my cheek, looking at me with his big brown eyes and now his fingers playing with my hair as we both laugh a little.
Out of nowhere, he takes my arm, throws the blanket in the other couch and takes me with him. He opened the window and pulled me outside in the rain while I was shocked by his move. We were out in the rain, his hands were touching my face and then my waist enough to lift me up and smiled at me. He puts me down and we both staring at each other for a few moments.
He starts to lean on me a bit closer and closer and here we are kissing each other in the rain with passion and the rain got her own fate with us there.
If It Happened Again
I was laying down on my side, my lights on in the middle of the night scrolling through my phone. Someone posts a video of the rain falling down among the cypress in hushed tones. Captioned, "I hate being in the rain."
I look at my window, and thinly veiled behind a baroque curtain my blinds are shut tight, and there's nothing beyond that sepia image. I wished I had went outside today. I wanted to, dreamed to. I never did, I took naps all day, and after each one I was even more tired.
I remember what being caught in the rain felt like. I loved it, and there was nothing I wanted to do more. It's been a long time since I've been outside. I'm never in the right situation to catch the rain, I have to listen to it patter down the windows as I work, as I sleep. Even if I looked outside my window its dark outside. Maybe if I forgot to wear a coat, it would catch me. The sky would thunder, seeing my vulnerable state, and gets me when I least expect it. I'd be surprised, and smiling I'd say "oh, not again."
I lay the cards down, some face up, some down.
The power went out hours ago. The wind still howls.
I make sure not to snap the cards too loudly when I lay them down. The sound is creepy in the candlelit room. It echoes, makes the room feel larger than it is. The echo makes me feel smaller than I am.
I collect the cards.
The windows rattle; I look up. On calm days the house seems stout, as if it will stand forever. Not tonight.
I lay the cards. Although I'm careful not to snap them, the noise grates, and I begin holding each card on either side. Then I notice the silence.
There's no wind outside. No windows rattle, no branches crack. One hand, holding the next card, hovers frozen above the table. I don't blink.
A low moan rises in the distance, barely heard, races across the night, gaining strength. It cries, sings, groans, hammers the windows. Still my hand hovers. I’ve forgotten to breathe. Will the gust snatch my house and crush it like a lego cabin?
Then the wind abates, grants my windows respite.
I turn back to the cards.
Where was I?