The air hangs around us like a wet woolen blanket. The cicadas are electric. We run around the plastic pool, yellow grass catching between our toes and floating on the surface of the water.
My sister and I jump into the pool together and a third of the water spills out – flooding onto of the dry soil. The water sits on the surface of the earth as if unrecognized and then soaks in.
A cool wind snakes though our play – chilling our wet shoulders.
Then the sun is gone.
We look up to see where it went. Purple-black clouds are gobbling the blue sky. We can hear the rain just a few seconds before it hits us. Large wet drops pepper our lawn, our heads, and the pear tree. Our Mother is calling from the door, we can barely see her. “Get in the house, now! Hurry, come on, run!” She screams over the storm. We run screaming – because it sees to fit the apocalyptic weather. Both of us now screaming full out in mock-terror. When we get to the door, I turn to see the pear tress stiffen and then the fruit laden boughs waved about in the rain like angry octopuses. The first lighten strike lights up the black sky behind the waving bows.
Boom! The thunder drives us deeper into the house - my mother chases us with towels as we leave a trail of watered steps and hair drips. We run all the way to our room. Now it is dark as night. The rain is beating on everything that did not follow us in. Boom! Tap! Tap, tap, tap. We shivered as we help Mom peel off our bathing suits. Tap tap, crash! We scream in high pitched unison at the sound of shattered glass. We dive in bed, under our bed covers. My mother abandons trying to dry us and walks carefully over to the window. “Stay where you are! There is glass on the floor.” She reports back. But we aren’t going to get out of bed, no way! Boom, the room is lit up by a lightening flash. Tap, tap, bam, bam, tap. How can rain make so much noise on the roof? Crash, and other window breaks some where else in the house. We scream. Mom runs out of the room. “Stay where you are!” She barks. My sister and I huddle tighter under the blanket, sobbing in fear: “Mom, come back! Don’t go! No, please come back!” We are still shaking under the covers when we notice the hail has stopped and the rain is slowing. We can hear my mom talking loudly to someone. Its my dad on the phone, calling from his office. Mom is asking him to come home. Her voice sounds shaky. The room begins to lighten, we pull down the bedspread. The rain has stopped. My sister gets off the bed, “No,” I cry out, “the glass.”
But the window is on the other side of the bed, so she is safe. She pulls a summer dress over her head and runs out of the room. I grab for mine and follower her. I find her standing at the back door on the threshold holding the door open. I push past her onto the deck. Golf balls of ice and everywhere. The grass is covered, and our little pool is full. My sister mouth is hanging open as she points to the pear tree. It is split in two. Each half has fallen away from the other. Ripe pears have been beaten to soft mush among the prone branches. The sun is already melting the hail and heating up the impromptu pear jam. The sweet pear smell comes to our nostrils us as we gather up the biggest hail stones.
The hail will be stored in the freezer for Dad as proof of our horrible adventure. Seven broken windows will also attest to the storm’s strength. But it is the loss of the pear tree that visibly upsets my dad when he gets home, and unlike the windows, it will never be replaced.