After class tonight I talked with Valerie and Jeovany for a while. (Jeovany got a new job! One with decent — that is to say, humane — hours. One that pays more than his old, awful job) Then I talked for a while with J___ about classes and the killing, barely-relieved-by-the-poor-performing-AC heat of our second floor rooms. Then we left. As I clocked out on the first floor, I heard a noise that surprised me. “Was that thunder?” “Couldn’t be,” J___ said. Then he opened the door and we saw the trees outside being whipped by the wind. “Something’s coming,” J___ said. “Fast.” We said hurried good-byes as we took off in different directions. I decided a cab home might be smarter than waiting at the bus stop, so I headed for the Azteca dispatch.
There were brilliant lightning flashes and so much wind and people running to get indoors. I felt a drop or two of rain as the wind flung them into my face.
From the door of the school to the door of the car service is about one block. I started walking faster. As I crossed to street (almost there!) I looked down 7th Avenue … and could see the storm four blocks away. A wall of rain was moving toward me at an amazing speed. I stopped for a second, fascinated to see the power of the storm, to see it charging up the street while I stood there, not yet in it. Then I shook myself out of the “oo, isn’t mother nature cool” moment and ducked into Azteca just as the rain hit.
I gave the dispatcher my address and went to stand in the doorway and watch the rain. It was fantastic: huge, loud, vehement. It smelled green and dirty and like hot asphalt. In the aureole of the street lamp on the corner I could see that it was coming down in three directions: the traditional straight and the flamboyantly extravagant west-east and south-north diagonals.
Is it obvious that I love storms? I really do. I don’t like them to catch me by surprise, to drench me on my way to an interivew or a date, to flood my apartment or knock out my electricity, but I love them. I love the force of the wind and water, love the chest-rocking blasts of thunder and the jagged slashes of lightning. And I love how quickly they can burn themselves out.
Tonight? By the time I got home, it was long finished. A breeze had come up and the wicked heat and humidity of the past few days had been washed away.