A Sultry Afternoon

I sat in the main hall, flicking through the channels on the television to see if there was anything worth watching at that time of the day. It was unusual for me to stay awake in the afternoon, most of my family prefers a short nap in the afternoon so that they can continue with their work in the evening more efficiently, and so the house was always usually silent, except for the persistent sound that the tap water made on the base of the sink, “Tip, tip, tip.” But after years of hearing that, I had kind of become immune to that sound, just like the chirps of the sparrows who came thirsty, quenching their thirst from the small bowl kept in the balcony during summers.

After a while I switched off the television, went to the kitchen, scanned the refrigerator for food, scanned all the cupboards for anything that would take more than five minutes to eat, then realized that I was not hungry at all, and came back, sat down and switched on the television again. I had to keep it at a low volume, not wanting anyone to wake up from their deep slumbers on some stupid songs or probably a wrestling match, neither of which was on television then though. I looked through the window and there was a mynah near the bowl of water. I tried to open the balcony door ever so slowly so that it wouldn’t fly away, but the screech of the door gave way to its suspicions that I would grab it and probably eat it right there and then, and it fluttered away almost instantaneously. I stood in the balcony for a while, the sun on my face, causing small drops of sweat to trickle down my spine, but I had to be there. The plants needed water, or they would die.

When I looked up at the sky, the clouds were turning black. It would rain soon, it seemed. The bear cloud was gnarling at the mouse cloud, and the dragon cloud stood still where it was. Then in a moment, the bear turned into a woman looking down on the earth, whilst the mouse turned its face towards the dragon. A dragon that would breathe out water, I thought, muffling my hair clumsily as a girl walked by on the street opposite. And then the wind started to blow, swaying the thinner trees so that they almost kissed the ground, many of their leaves falling on the ground and swirling up into the sky like a tornado. The smell of wet mud arose from the garden beside and the dogs ran inside the buildings, whilst the pigeons started flocking into the big tree opposite. I turned back and went inside, closing the door so that the dust wouldn’t turn in. I have always been fascinated by the dust, they seem to me a way nature teaches us the value of memories, and how we sweep both of them out at some point in our lives.

Slowly, the dust settled down, back to the ground from where it rose. The rain helped it cool down, get down to where it was, and taught us that we cannot fly for more than was intended for us. At some point, we need to go back to where we started, and restart the process, over and over again. The sky had no dragons anymore, the black being replaced by white, and the grey with a blue, which would soon turn red and then black. I had always been intrigued by the various colors that the skies could assume, depending on other factors. It taught me how we should sometimes succumb to the circumstances around us, and become a little more complaisant, without bearing any grudges. For come morning, the blackness would wither out again, giving way to fresh dew, the chirps of birds, and a light to guide us through the rest of the day. And depend on it we must.

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