There was a time when I was a child I loved storms but that was before I lost my illusions in a black rain of bitterness.
I didn’t have a childhood—not really—or if I did, it ended suddenly that bleak April night when I was ten.
Mother and Father were fighting downstairs and I could hear their fury above the thunder.
And then the house grew silent.
I crept out of bed and watched Mother slowly coming upstairs. She didn’t go down the hall to her room, but went through the French doors out onto the balcony, stepped over a small iron rail and stood on the gray slate roof.
I wanted to call Father, but didn’t. She was so sad and needed to be alone, even if it meant being out on the roof in the storm.
My last glimpse of her was backlit by a lightning flash, and then, in an instant, she was gone.
Now I can’t bear it when it rains—and it’s worse when a storm lights the night.
On those desolate nights, Mother comes to me and stands at the end of my bed. She puts a finger to her lips when I try to explain, and says, “Hush, don’t cry. I’ll always come back to comfort you when it rains.”
“It’s okay, Ev, I understand.”
Marsha puts her arms around me and strokes my hair. “One writ with me in misfortune’s book,” she whispers softly in my ear.
We’re in her house late at night. I should be home with Chrissie, but here I am being consoled in the arms of my friend.
She really does understand. She grew up to the manor born like me, losing her parents when she was ten, and raised by an uncle with ties to organized crime.
I met her in freshman year at university and we’ve been inseparable ever since. No romance—just a common bond of pain—two outsiders, I suppose, beaten down by life’s storms, seeking solace with each other from the curse of being born.
I stay until the rain stops, hug her at the door, and then head out into the night, and pray my headlight tunnels exorcize all ghosts on the road.
Chrissie’s asleep when I get in, and crawl in beside her. I feel guilty, but it’s just as well—I don’t feel like an argument defending what can’t be helped.
Strange, but the rain ends just as I slip beneath the sheets.
No wraiths will walk tonight or spirits disturb our sleep.