Sunday, December 6, 2009

Rain, pt 1

The rain came drumming down on our tin roof, beating out an ancient cadence on the corrugated aluminum. With no insulation to separate us from the metal, monsoon season meant that my family communicated in yells to be heard over the furious cacophony. The monsoons lasted several months, during which everything stayed slightly wet - bedding, clothes, hair, walls. A mouldy smell pervaded the air, giving an earthy undertone to the scents of rain-crushed flowers and leaves.

I looked out our louvered window, and saw a pack of kids running by. Their naked brown bodies glistened in the warm wetness and their wide feet sent joyful splashes into the rock yards. The monsoons turned the village into a new brand of playground. Pools of standing water stayed for days on the saturated sand. The village rain tanks filled to overflowing, and villagers stood beneath the outpouring to shampoo their hair, right there in front of our house.

A pail of fresh fish stood by our front door, an offering from the day's fishermen. It was my job to clean them. I scooped up the pail, threw a sharp knife in the mix, and made my way out into the wet chaos.

As I stepped out from under the protective awning of our house, the heavy sheets immediately claimed me. In under a minute, I was soaked through. My hair ran in snakes down my cheeks. My skirt and shirt clung to my body. The falling drops embraced me and became me, saturating even my eyelashes. I kicked my toes through the puddles; 'swish, swish, swish', and watched the water skip ahead of me.

At the lagoon, I waded into the warm, calm ocean. The sea received me as a mother, offering shelter and protection. I sank my body to my neck beneath the calm water, letting the pail of fish float beside me. From this vantage point, I could look out over the lagoon and see the tiny drops attacking the expanse like billions of tiny spears. I sank my head below the surface. There was instant quiet. Looking up through the salt water, I saw the drops being absorbed into the placid vastness. My hair floated up and out, my clothing released its wet cling, and I floated there for a moment in the alien world.

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