The evening storm will arrive, like clockwork, turning off the light of the sun right on time. The clouds have been building all afternoon, the air more and more oppressive until just to breathe brings a fresh layer of condensation to the skin. Under the fan, still, not thinking about the discomfort, not daring to anticipate the actual time of release, and then, wham!
The great clash of a timpani, hollow, vibrates through the air, through our bodies, like a whisper down the spine. An instant’s silence, a quick inhalation of surprise. A terrific gust of cold, blessed, cold air, before the lone drum becomes the demented drumming of Ravana’s entire army on the roof . I can’t see the lightning, it must be overhead. The sound of the Niagara falling over my head is almost obliterated by the crashing cascades erupting from the gutters, overflowing in long rills in its haste to continue flying earthward. The thunder now a bronchial tama tama, tama tama, then another Versuvian eruption. The rain so dense I can’t see through its veil to the coconut tree at the end of the lawn. Lakes forming in the courtyards, the air full of rain, swirling indoors. Tama tama, tama tama, tama tama, crash, cannon fire, incessant Zeusian cacophony.
It’s begun to unsettle the usually phlegmatic Miss, stalking on stiff legs in an aimless circle back to her place over my feet. Maggie has her tail between her legs, her ears plastered to the sides of her face. Podi slinks away – to the dark safety of the linen cupboard, if she can prise the door open, otherwise under my bed – it’s the lowest, most den like.
It’s moving away. No. False alarm. The thunder is rolling back towards us from the other side of the house. Lighter now, more tenor in its timbre, it’s easier to hear now above the renewed assault on the roof.
The air is full of water. A halo around the light under the courtyard eaves.
As it moves away at last, darkness becomes late afternoon again, the cold air travels off with the storm. Podi emerges from the bedroom, tail at half mast, stalking to one of her thrones, feigning nonchalance, belied by a frenzy of cleaning, cleaning. The Girls venture onto the balcony to smell the smells brought down from the clouds.
The sky becomes a study in greens, greys, purples, charcoal laced with yellows toward the west, like old bruising. So still. Quiet. Already the temperature has risen a degree. The lake in the bamboo courtyard still a good three inches deep, almost lapping at the living room doors.
The bird’s are back, calling, checking with each other, from tree to tree. The occasional flash of lightning, a muttering rumble follows, other roofs still dripping, though mine now dry – gutters cleared this morning.