Sunday, October 31, 2010

Red Umbrella

The little child can see the dazzling brilliance of the lightning through the gaps of her windows. The way it lights up the night sky with a purple aura astounds her. She begins counting the seconds like her teacher taught her in school, anticipating the sonorous aftermath of an electric storm.

One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three….

The deafening clap of thunder interrupts her count somewhere between six and seven. And even as her ears are overwhelmed by the thunder, she could make out the little pitter-patter of raindrops that hit the tin awning; the drops falling faster and louder, as though competing with the thunder in a bizarre sort of contest. Downstairs she hears a commotion; a sort very different from the one outside. In her room, she opens up her pretty red umbrella and sits under it. In her mind's eye she pictures the events vividly: the confrontation between her parents. The lightning has struck- her father's rage. She counts the seconds in her mind silently; like counting prayers off a rosary. At ten Mississippis, she hears the sharp clap of thunder in the form of her mother’s acerbic tongue.

Lightning and thunder. Thunder and lightning. 

The storm brews inside as the one outside slowly subsides. After a brief reprieve, the incessant back-and-forth stops. It starts to rain inside the house. The child sits alone in the darkness under her umbrella hugging her legs and closing her eyes, praying that her red umbrella can save her from the deluge of her mother's tears and the lightning in her father's eyes.