I am cloudburst, manifested. I am my timing, off. Fifteen
minutes until a fiction reading by two authors, friends.
I step out into steady rain. It’s not too bad, I think. It’s dark
and cold though – my breath clouds around me. Tonight
is one of those rare times I miss having a car. I’m barely out
of the driveway when the rain ramps up; I think of returning
home, calling a third person, asking for a ride or rain check.
She may or may not at the reading. I’m committed, though,
and continue. Steady rain becomes pouring rain. I should
be committed, I think, as the sky empties itself into deluge
and then torrential rain. My hands tingle and start to hurt
in the cold wet.
By the time I get to the bookstore, I feel I’ve swum there.
My hat and jacket are soaked, my shoes and the front pant
legs of my jeans are soaked. I am soaked. No, something else:
“drenched” — a perfect word from one of the authors, who
steps back to thank me graciously for coming. I’m committed,
now: I sit and listen, laugh and applaud in appropriate places.
The authors are grateful and charming, and read flawlessly.
This community of authors and writers, listeners and readers,
is why I attend readings. This is mostly why I attend readings.
She’s not there. I sit at the back of the room, periodically
look back for her lovely, kind face, hoping to see her smile.
Right after they finish answering questions, I leave. I miss
the person I went hoping to see and hear; she will tell me
later she made it in time for the book signing and reception.
It appears we just missed each other. I am my timing, off.
After the reading I dodge the crowd, duck out of the bookstore
back into the night. The rain has stopped, and the sky is clearing.
It’s colder now; the sky gauzy clouds and patches of starry sky.
It was a fast-moving storm. My moodiness makes me mercurial,
seem dark or light, sunny to partly cloudy to overcast to stormy,
with periods of crystalline clear, periods of remembering
and periods of forgetting. I will leave her drenched. I will leave
her or I may not, I don’t know. I am a fast-moving storm;
I have a lot going on, too: storm clouds, rain, hail, sleet, snow,
ice. I should warn her I am a fast-moving storm. I should warn
her to seek shelter, but I don’t. I seek shelter, too.
Andrew Shattuck McBride
PaPoWriMo ~ 2012 *Day Twenty-Two Poem*
October 21, 2012