We had a thick patchwork quilt that my grandmother made for my parents’ wedding. My mother and I hid inside the quilt once during a storm. I thought the thunder would kill me but my mother said nothing could get through the quilt. I called it my Thunderstorm Blanket and I dragged it into the living room every time it rained.
My parents divorced years ago but their marriage was over a decade earlier, or it was always over.
My mother was gone with work or friends, my father gone in affairs or alcohol.
Gloria took the antennas off our roof and we had no TV. We had to stay inside the whirlwind, but it seemed to me we were safe. I imagined Gloria to be a giant stomping through the oceans, her feet narrowly avoiding us.
God bowling. Angels crying. My father said it was god farting and he laughed for minutes and I thought he was a little crazy.
After Andrew my mother became pregnant in what she deemed an immaculate conception. We named the baby after the storm, or it was his name in spite of it.
Thunder shook our rickety house. The house and my bed rumbled and I ran out to the living room to hide under the storm blanket.
I don’t often speak to my father anymore. I can’t stop him from circling down the drain.
Before Irene I was worried about my mother and my grandparents. I didn’t know how my tiny mother could navigate my grandparents to safety. I looked at evacuation maps and told my mother that their house is outside of the flood zones. She said, that’s why your grandfather bought this house. It is on a hill and it will never flood. A person or a house can both destroy and protect a family for generations.
During storms, my father sat by himself on the balcony outside, watching the rain. One day I emerged from under the Thunderstorm Blanket and joined him. We didn’t speak but we watched the rain come down. We heard it hit the tin roof and we waited for the flashes of light and the cracking of the sky and then each time it rained, we sat on the balcony to watch, to listen, to smell the warm or cool air, to feel the storm all around us, everywhere.
On Weather is a series published on Sundays. See submission guidelines here.
Follow the series here.