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The Tempest Is Waiting

by Jillian Spiridon 6 months ago in Short Story
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Everyone is a storm of the world's making.

Photo by Masha Raymers from Pexels

Sometimes it starts with a rain shower at the break of dawn.

Other times, when she's had a nightmare, the storms roll out in waves that she can't control. Gusts of wind batter the windows, and she knows with a sinking feeling that her neighbors will report downed trees in the morning. Hundreds may lose electricity for days.

But at least she's not in the middle of nowhere, directing all eyes to a shack of a home where tornadoes lurk like ghosts in a cemetery. When she's cradled in suburbia, cocooned between small trailers that are indistinguishable from one another, no one can blame the storms on her.

It is in this way that Mona Powers slinks through life, undetected but for the whiff of rainfall that follows her every move.

Long ago, she decided to put her head down and move through the quiet corridors of human consciousness by being barely visible—even unto herself.

Nobody ever notices the full-time cashier at the gas station. This job is safe, and the only conversations she has is with the truck drivers who migrate too much to look twice at someone like her. Maybe they share a laugh, if that, before they pluck up their candy bars, energy drinks, and perhaps a receipt before barreling out the way they came.

Sometimes it rains during her graveyard shift. If she's having a bad day, she doesn't even try to stop the onslaught that could have caused flooding in other areas around the country. But here—she's fine, for now, and that's all that matters.

Mona tries not to think about what she left behind in Texas during one awful summer when the boys around town kept bullying her. Someone even died when the projected hurricane made landfall but never weakened in its power.

Not long after—well, that's how she came to be here, living in a trailer park and working the shifts no one else wants at the gas station off the highway. It isn't a good life, but it isn't awful either. She has done enough that the days of monotony and drudgery feel like a kind of penance.

But Fate seems to like laughing at her because one night she finds herself face to face with someone who actually meets her eyes. It is a small astonishment—especially since the girl, her brown eyes wide and gleaming, smiles when Mona stares back.

"Some rain we've got tonight, huh?" the girl asks, sliding over a Hershey's candy bar and looking out the clear glass doors thoughtfully.

"Yeah," Mona finds herself saying as she scans the item, "it's been like that for a while."

After the girl pays, her fingertips brush Mona's when retrieving the chocolate.

A low rumble of thunder issues a warning right before a spark of lightning crashes nearby.

"Oh!" The girl jolts, and Mona feels her heart thudding in her chest. "That was close!"

Mona withdraws her hand and cradles it to her chest as if it has been burned. "You better get home quick," she says.

The girl's smile wavers. "A little storm like this is better than what I've got at home."

Before Mona can ask what the girl means, she's on her way out the door—and she lifts her hand in farewell.

"Maybe I'll see you again sometime," the girl says.

Mona tries not to stare too long after the departure—though she makes sure to watch as the girl runs through the rain and jumps into a small rusting car that probably doesn't even have a functioning heater. When the girl looks up by chance, she grins to find Mona looking her way. Then she's gone, out into the storm's mercurial mood.

The thunder keeps time to the racing of Mona's heart.

But maybe that isn't such a bad thing.

Short Story

About the author

Jillian Spiridon

just another writer with too many cats

twitter: @jillianspiridon

email: [email protected]

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