This month’s blog chain on the Absolute Write Water Cooler forums was kicked of by Ralph Pines. He’s the one who offered the theme: seasons. I wrote a flash fiction/short story for the occasion. I hope you like it!
I kicked my flat tire with a frustrated grunt. What is it with cars these days? They recently decided to pull sick jokes, is that it? I dropped to the sidewalk, my cell phone in hand. A few digits and someone would be here to help. I sat in a neighborhood; I could just yell. But I couldn’t bear people right now. I wanted to curl up on my couch with a jar of Ben & Jerry. In ice cream lies the power to fight heat waves and sorrows.
I undid a few buttons of my blouse. My elbows went to my folded knees and my hands to my face. Everything in me needed support. My head was no exception. The humid temperature crushed me like the burden of grief. Who else but me would get a flat tire on the hottest day of summer after burying her sister and would-have-been-brother-in-law who died in a car crash?
And what a funeral it was. Everyone cooked in line under their black clothes. By the middle of the ceremony in the graveyard, most people stopped caring about my sister. Their sweaty bodies yearned for air conditioning so the dead mattered less with each minute spent under the sun.
It was all summer’s fault. All of it. The disrespect for the memory of my sister. Hell, her death was the season’s fault in the first place. Wedding season frenzy kills two people. The newspaper loved the headline. The accepted theory stated that my sister and her fiancé argued while he drove. They were so bent on making their point neither of them saw the incoming truck. Dead on impact.
My family thought I was nuts when I said we should use the flowers ordered for the wedding for the funeral. The irony hurt at first but that’s what my sister deserved; a lively goodbye. In that regard, summer probably was probably the season she would have chosen.
Sweat trickled down my neck. The heat invited me to lay flat on my back and wait for the rest of the world to make decisions for me. Moving clearly wasn’t encouraged. The weather didn’t care how hard it already was to pull through the motion. The world felt heavy enough without the humidity dropping in for an unsolicited visit. Humidity is the nasty aunt that always finds her way to family events and you just have to endure her smothering presence.
Then, something changed.
The world took a deep breath, releasing the pressure on me for an instant. The storm broke. The deluge drenched me in a second. I raised my head to curse at the sky but laughter stopped me. Two girls exited a house, jumping around. They laughed as they ran toward a park around the curb. I listened to the drumming of the rain and the chimes of pleasure and remembered.
My sister and I used to do that.
“Adults curse the rain.” She said to me every time I was at her place when it rained. “Children know better.” We always yelled the last part together before rushing to the balcony. “Rain is freedom.”
One day when I felt particularly down, she told me that rain was the sky letting go of its problem and solving ours.
“I guess even you can’t keep it all in,” I murmured.
The temperature became bearable and so did the burden of humidity. I closed my eyes. I cried with the sky and let my anger feed the thunderbolts. The rain played the sweetest parting song, all in notes of pavement, roofs and car metal. The girls still laughed and yelled in the distance like a memory.
“Excuse me,” a male voice cut through the symphony. I opened my eyes on a charming face topped by an umbrella. “I saw you through my window.” He pointed the house across the street. “You look like you’re having a bad day. Anything I can do to help?”
“Are you in the mood to change a flat tire under the rain?”
He kneeled in front of me so our eyes met and the umbrella shielded me as well.
“Not really.” He replied with a crooked smile. “But I do have a working phone.” He glanced knowingly at my cell phone, soaked on the sidewalk. “How about coffee?”
“I don’t trust strangers who are afraid to get wet.”
The mysterious man folded his umbrella and offered me his hand to help me up.
Here is the list of the blog chain participants:
and direct link to his post
Aheïla (That’s me!)