Wall of Water

October 3rd Writing Group exercise: ‘Experience a Rainstorm’

rainI sat in still traffic, waiting for the light to turn green. From the west, I saw something approaching. I couldn’t tell what it was. It seemed to be a shadow, a darkness creeping toward me. It reached the intersection; my stomach tied itself in a knot, I saw that whatever it was, it would be upon me soon.

The darkness crept over my car; it was such a distinct border between shadow and light, unlike I have ever seen. Raindrops beat furiously on the roof. I yanked the handle for the wipers, but they were unable to help. Blades dragged back and forth on the windshield; smearing dirty, greasy water; making it harder to see.

The storm came on so quick, there was no build up, no drizzle or sprinkles to warn me; only a sudden switch between clear skies and this torrent.

A honk came from behind me. I couldn’t see the stop light; I wondered if the car behind me could, or was just anxious to move. I crept forward a little, pulling onto the shoulder, letting the car behind me go on its way. I shook my head a moment, thinking of this blinded driver in such a hurry, wondering what could be so important that he had to proceed.

I felt trapped inside frosted glass, the sound like popping popcorn distracting my thoughts. I rubbed a sleeve at the window, a vain attempt to clear the fog. Should I crack a window to defrost the glass, and soak me in the process? Or should I wipe it away as best I could, knowing this would only make the fog come back stronger, more determined to block my view?

My question was met by silence; it took a moment to register. As quickly as the rain had come upon me, it was now gone. The wipers swept the last of the water away, and squeaked against dry glass, informing me they’d completed their task.

It was as if it never happened. The sun was beating down again, the sky peaceful and clear. The only evidence was the darkened pavement, and off to the east now, the retreating wall of water creeping out of view.

I thought for a moment about the car that had been behind me, but was in such a rush to move on. I wondered if he was still stuck inside the odd, localized downpour. Perhaps, for one reason or other, he was chasing the storm, or perhaps the Storm was chasing him.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

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