A Summer Storm, Without Rain
She gazed out of the window at the city below, tapping her fingers impatiently on the glass as she waited for the phone to ring. Even in the darkness the city was beautiful, sparkling and shimmering at her feet.She glanced behind her at the phone, as if it might signal its intention to ring. How like Charles, to have an antique phone, she thought, turning back to the city. A siren wailed out from 42nd street. Was that an ambulance? I don’t know. It sounds half inconsolable and half bored with the routine of helping people. She exhaled on the glass and condensation appeared before her. She drew a heart with the tip of her finger and unconsciously, drew a zigzag line down the middle of the heart.
Two voices came from the hall. It was the woman from the opposite apartment. She was with someone. It sounded like they were arguing about something, but then a unexpected silence consumed them. I wonder if they are kissing? She thought. She held her breath, then heard a dampened thud. He’s forcing her against her door? Or wall? Another thud. She started to panic but then heard an unmistakable noise. A noise that could only be explained by one thing.
A half smile flicked across her face, vanishing as soon as it appeared. She looked at the phone again. “Call damn you Charles, call!” She said aloud. A bead of sweat ran down her temple. Her mouth opened as she heard the woman in the opposite flat cry out and her apartment door slam shut. A sharp and intensely loud explosion resonated over Manhattan. She turned and looked outside just in time to see another flash of white lightening cut sword-like across the sky. A summer storm, how appropriate. Heaving up and down over the high-rise buildings a herd of dark clouds reared like wild horses. The city lights below, so serene moments ago, now appeared filled with nervous anticipation. Shaken from the quiet domesticity of the plain, these equine clouds gnarled down onto the alleyways and streets pursued by several claps of thunder exploding in succession. The sound reminded her of when her son Luke had run around with a cocktail stick stabbing at his birthday balloons and screaming hysterically. She remembered catching Charles looking at Luke in a shocked, almost disapproving way. That look had knifed at her heart.
It had been Peter, as it always was, who calmed Luke down. Holding him so firmly, yet so gently. Only the father can soothe the son, she thought. Yet before she knew Peter, she had known and loved Charles. She glanced back at the phone, a tear ran from the corner of her eye and stopped on the edge of her cheek, as if uncertain what it should do, or where it should go…
“A summer storm, without rain”, she said, quietly to herself. Suddenly, she was wrenched from the mire of her thoughts by the ringing of Charles’s phone.