Twenty Year Storm

The rain is pouring outside, Biblical and a little unsettling. It pounds against the window of Viola’s attic, and the window rattles in its frame against the wind that whips down from the atmospheric river currently pummeling the west coast.

“Well,” Viola says. “Guess we aren’t going out on the roof today.”

I raise my mug of coffee and take a sip. “I know I’m not. You’re more than welcome to if that’s what floats your boat.”

“I’d need a boat if I went out there,” she says. “Goddamn weather.”

Viola has an old blue love seat flush against the wall of the attic, and we both grab an end and move it over in front of the window, facing the rain-covered glass. We sit, each with our coffees made in Viola’s kitchen two floors down, and watch the storm outside rage.

“I’ve been a lazy ass this week,” she says. “Haven’t done a thing except want to sleep. I don’t know what it is. Isn’t COVID. I haven’t been anywhere.”

“It’s the weather,” I say. “All the cold and the wet. Triggers off some latent hibernation gene. Affects the lizard part of our brain.”

“My brain is all lizard,” she says. She raises her mug to her lips, takes a drink. “Give me a heat lamp and a rock and I’m all good.”

A fresh gust of wind batters the house, and it creaks loudly like an old wooden ship at sea. California is flooding right now, but inside the attic, everything feels safe and secure.

“I wrote two poems last week,” she says. “They weren’t very good. Feels okay to say that into the air though. Not everything has to be gold.”

“I wrote a bit as well. A few pages. Found my groove again, or at least getting there.”

“Tell me what it is?” she asks.

“Oh, working on the blog,” I say. “The sci-fi one. Also sketching out a short story. I’ve decided that this year is going to be my year, you know?”

She finishes her coffee and sets her mug on the floor. “I say that every year, and then it turns out that maybe the year after is the one I was thinking of.”

“I generally feel that way, too,” I say. “But I’m not getting any younger. I don’t mean that in a depressingly introspective kind of way. I just mean that the time to accomplish some of the things I wanted to twenty years ago is maybe kind of right now.”

“Instead of twenty years ago.”

“Right. Because time and things.”

“You’re kind of a loon, Bastian.”

I put my empty cup on the wooden floor as well. “I know. It’s my thing.”

She shifts in the love seat and puts her feet up on the windowsill. “I’m just going to keep writing mediocre poems and putting them in boxes. That’s my thing.”

“Your poems aren’t mediocre.”

“Hush,” she says. “I don’t want to talk about my shitty poems right now.”

“Your poems aren’t shitty, either.”

“Quiet, you. It’s not talking time right now.”

“What time is it?” I ask.

“Listening to the rain time,” she says.

I put my feet up next to hers. “Only if you write a poem about it later.”

“Only if you go back in time twenty years and write about it in your blog.”

“I’m still working on the whole time travel stuff,” I say. “But I’ll write about it in my future blog, if that makes you happy.”

“Hush,” she says. “I’m listening to the rain.”

The window rattles in its frame.

The water slides across the glass.

Ourselves from twenty years ago whisper to one another about their plans for the future.

Ourselves twenty years later sit quietly and let the rain whisper to us instead.

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