It is unusually still today. And horribly hot. Not a single leaf moves, not a single blade of grass sways. The birds have all fallen silent. There is a waiting, a hushed hold your breath sort of waiting. Waiting for the storm to break, yet not knowing if it will or when it will. In that waiting is a whisper of hope. A hope of a respite from this suffocating stillness. A respite from this not knowing. A respite from the fear of what might be. This calm before the storm. Sometimes more terrifying than the storm itself.
Another day, another lifetime. Standing at the window, feeling the oppressive stillness. It has been calm for too long now. I have been safe for almost three months. And in this silence is the warning. Any day now I expect the storm to break. I unconsciously brace myself for the blows, the lashings, yet I know it can be days or weeks before anything happens. It is the knowing that it will happen, yet not knowing when, not knowing what will trigger it, that suffocates, that has me holding my breath just like the leaves outside.
The thunder suddenly crashes loud outside the window, the wind rushes around like a mad man, the rain pelts down, relentless, battering everything with all its might. But once spent, it disappears, leaving behind a magical world, full of sparkling drops on leaves and grass, containing a million rainbows. Illusions that disappear once they dry up. The breeze too tired of having held its breath for so long, blows gently. The world suddenly seems so beautiful.
At home too, the storm arrives, vicious and cruel. But having spent itself, it changes . It is as if all the tension of the previous days has just disappeared. As if it never happened. The gentleness and love is poignant with regret and though I know it is just as much an illusion as the rainbows outside, I hold these moments close, knowing that I have a respite for some time at least and I can breathe once more albeit for a little while, till I start dreading the build up of another storm.