Friday, August 24, 2012

"Our Shelter From the Storm"

          The late afternoon sky darkened as gray clouds scuttled across the sun. The calm, hot air pressed down upon me like a woolen blanket, and a film of perspiration glazed my skin as I perched on the top step of our porch. The front screen door swung open and slapped shut as Charlie bounded out of the house like a wide-eyed and excited puppy. His little three-year-old body hunched down next to me, and I inhaled the sweetness of his youth.
          Casually, I slung my arm around Charlie’s shoulders, and he tucked in closely to me. In those few seconds, the temperature noticeably dropped a few degrees. A breeze rifled through the leaves of the ancient gnarled oak that towered across the street. A sharp, metallic scent enveloped us, and a chill swept over me.
          “Storm’s comin’,” murmured Charlie.
           “Good!” he smiled and shifted from his squat, splaying his little feet out before him.
          The tiny hairs on my arms pricked to attention as the wind picked up. The clouds overhead deepened from their soft gray to a harsh charcoal. Thunderheads boiled and bubbled; and thunder, sounding in the distance, rumbled closer with each passing minute. A faint scent of popcorn wafted through our front screen door.
"The Storm" by David Chapman
           One enormous drop of rain plopped on the side walk. Then another. And another. And another. The heavy smell of dust mingled with the green scent of freshly mowed grass. As lightning cut a jagged ridge across the darkening sky, Mom and Paula stepped out of the house and “oohed” at nature’s fireworks. Charlie and I scooted over to squeeze Paula in next to us since she hugged a huge Tupperware of popcorn to her chest. Mom leaned against the porch’s post and turned her face to the fine spray that misted up from the nearby gardenias.
I dipped my eager fingers into the overflowing bowl and pulled out a huge handful of the warm treat. Without a word, I offered Charlie the popcorn. His small hand filled with only five pieces; he sighed in buttery contentment.
           Together we viewed the magnificence of the storm. We murmured our appreciation of the show, and thought of the war in a distant land that displayed its power and destruction on the evening news. My thoughts went to Dad, so far away in his own storm, and I moved closer to Paula for her warmth.
We nestled safe and dry in our shelter from the storm.

Copyright 1995 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

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