The hurricanes were different back then. There was more rain, more wind during the night, more laughter coming from eager faces and the news was always a step behind what was actually happening. It was the lead-up I liked most of all, the quiet panic in the air, in the rain, the thoughtful heaviness of the oak trees and the way my mother laughed it all off, even though she always wanted to leave, run, head north to Memphis and I knew she was scared because of the way she held my hand too tight, even when she was sweating.
The night she met Raymond we only got the tail end, the good end, of a tropical storm that made landfall over in Galveston and wiped out half the town.
I heard them come home, heard her laughing, softly, nervously and I heard the delicate clatter of glass on glass as she fixed them another drink and I got out of bed and went out onto the balcony. The rain and the wind were heavy with salt from the Gulf and pulled at my clothes, at my hair and I looked down the balcony, part of it lit, making the rainfall shine bright silver in the light, until it disappeared out into the darkness, into the moss covered southern oak in the park across the street. She laughed a lot and it made me nervous.
From Some Kind of Heaven
Published by The Georgetown Review