I can't remember the last time it rained so much. The sky and I are having a weeping match. Tonight's deluge started as I left my last train and got ready to walk home. It's about a mile from the train station to my apartment building — lovely, actually, in good weather — but in my haste to be on time this morning, I'd left the apartment without my galoshes.
The rain was soothing on my bare legs, and the whipping winds were a welcome change from the still, near-tropical air. I hunkered down, quickened my pace and turned my iPod up to soften my reaction to the claps of thunder.
I didn't mind the storm.
Then my umbrella stopped working. My hair was soaked, my arms and back were dripping and my shoes had turned into traveling puddles attached to my feet. So I did what any rational Chicagoan would do: I took off my shoes and enjoyed the storm.
I walked through puddles up to my ankles, dodged the earthworms out for a swim. Laughed out loud — I shrieked and whooped, knowing no one was outside to hear me — when I realized how soaked I was. My iPod played Miike Snow, a Phoenix remix, my favorite Death Cab for Cutie Song. I was a fool in the rain. Sometimes it's easier just to surrender.
Inside, I peeled my wrap dress off and hung it to drip dry in the hallway. The apartment's an absolute disaster; the movers come tomorrow and nothing's where it used to be. I found out I'd been strolling through a tornado warning. Once I took my headphones off, I could hear the sirens. So I took shelter in the basement. I expected to find half the building huddled in the laundry room, sharing snacks and chattering nervously about the incoming storms.
Instead, I'm alone, surrounded by brick and gas meters and dust bunnies. The old windows rattle with every peal of thunder, making the cobwebs shudder in the corners. The tornado sirens have been howling just across the park.
I'm sitting on a dryer, Indian-style, still barefoot with my music turned up. It echoes with my keystrokes in the damp and flickering light.
I'm not in danger.
Soon, I'll go upstairs and make myself a box of macaroni and cheese. Unless the milk has spoiled. In which case, I'll dial my favorite Thai restaurant and cross my fingers they're still delivering in this weather.
This summer isn't like the last.
Last summer was cool and cloudy. Not what I was used to, but still nice. The nights were pleasant enough to curl up comfortably with another body, snuggle down under the covers. Those months were full of possibility, if only for an eventual warm-up and a beautiful, lazy day at the beach.
This summer is sultry. Oppressive. The humidity makes it hard to breathe; the thunder and lightning are enough to take what's left of my breath away. It's too hot to be outside but too hot inside to stay there, too.
But all storms pass eventually, right?