Eight April, Twenty Twenty-One
Asha loved storms almost as much as her Nanna hated them. No one on the planet loved anything to match the fervent fear and hatred that Nanna had for storms. Asha’s mother explained that it was because of the typhoon that swept Nanna’s home and family away when she was a girl in the Philipines.
“That would do it.” Asha nodded and felt bad for teasing Nanna.
The clouds beginning to rise and darken were Nanna’s signal to rush around the enormous pre-war apartment on Central Park West, closing windows. Asha would wait until Nanna had made her rounds and was safely behind the massive doors that closed the living room off from the rest of the apartment. Then Asha would go to whichever was her current favorite window, open it just a pinch, and settle in for the show.
Didn’t matter what kind of storm. Blizzards were good. It was endlessly fun watching traffic fishtail and slide around in the snow. But nothing beat a really good thunderstorm.
Their apartment was on the fifteenth floor and faced the park giving Asha an unimpeded view of what lightning did to the sky. The rips of blinding white light. The drama of the thrashing trees in the wind. Then the dull hard booms of the thunder. The way it all built up with more frequent strobes of light until the sharp crack of the thunder happened in concert with the lightning. Asha loved the way the building vibrated around her during the best storms. She never felt so alive as she did during a storm. She felt like she, the building, and the storm all vibrated together.
This was going to be an especially fantastic storm. Asha could tell by the slightly yellowish cast of the sky. That and Nanna’s frantic headlong assault on the windows. This time, though, Nanna grabbed Asha and dragged her into the living room heaving the great doors closed. Asha stared in astonishment as Nanna, tiny Nanna, moved Dad’s heavy reading chair against the doors.
“We’re safe now, right Nanna?” Asha was used to Nanna’s storm hysteria but this was something new. Her skin was ashy and her eyes wide and staring.
“Never. We are never safe.”
Asha felt the vibration of the wood under her feet and badly wanted to get away from Nanna. The storm was building out there, calling out to her. But Nanna was sitting in Dad’s chair looking like some ancient temple guardian or something. Nothing was getting past Nanna tonight. Asha went over and put the TV on, switching to the weather channel.
The tornado that defied all laws governing tornados bounced down through the Bronx, laying waste to this block and completely sparing that one. It was followed by a pack of tornados, all ignoring the basic physics that said tornados do not go up and down hills. Or between large buildings. Or across wide rivers. Like wolves at the end of winter, the tornados tore through the city and chewed their way south until they were lost to the ocean.
In the morning, Nanna woke in her son’s enormous reading chair which was now wedged under the door handles of the slightly bulged-in doors.
She knew that silence. Asha was soundly sleeping over on the sofa with the TV still replaying the astonished meteorologists and footage of the destruction. She turned it off and pulled the afghan up to her Asha’s chin. She wasn’t in any hurry. It wasn’t as if she could even move the chair now or open the door. There would be time for that.
© Remington Write 2021. All Rights Reserved.