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A Stormy Reminiscence

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It is the boom of the thunder and the shatter of breaking glass that makes me smile.

The peaceful, floating raindrops suddenly grow heavy, rushing down to earth chaotically. I sigh, relieved. The rain touches the roof of my home, banging incessantly, a constant thrumming that slowly dissolves into background noise. I sigh, relieved. The urge is too strong to resist and before I know it, I'm poised on one side of my room, prying the blinds apart with my fingers and squinting through the space to watch the sheets of rain plow down. I sigh, relieved. Gusts of wind carry waves across the road, while raindrops pierce the air, one after the other. I sigh'

My brother is downstairs, copying my every move. He watches from the ostentatiously decorated dining room with the sheer, white curtains, nearly standing on the window's ledge. His hands are curled into fists, his jaw tensed with stress. Dark eyes widen considerably as the wind howls, and a sudden clap of thunder throws him closer to the window, his face nearly pressed against it. He wrenches his gaze away from the storm, skittering nervously around the large, oval dining table decorated with fake flowers, an attempt at giving the dreary room a bit of sunshine. The flowers' colorful petals are dulled by a coat of lint, thick on the pad of my finger as I wipe it across. The room is dusty like the memory I hold in my hand now'

We are made of memories, of experiences. The fascinating story is that everyone takes this memory, shakes it up like a snow-globe, and the little flecks of glitter land differently for each person. My memory takes place more than a decade before this thunderstorm. The thunderclaps echo in the same way, shaking the house. The wind presses insubstantially against our home, splattering raindrops against the window angrily. The storms are so alike. This one takes place in America, however, and the other takes place in Pakistan.

It is the boom of the thunder and the shatter of breaking glass that makes me smile.

Monsoon season started a week ago. I don't know what it is, exactly, only that the rain pours down like a waterfall and the street is flooded every few days. Just the day before, nano (grandma) made us all sleep upstairs' my brother and cousin, both four years old, baby sister, two-year-old cousin, and I' while my khala (aunt) and mamo (uncle) cleaned the mess leftover from the flood.

Now we sit together in a circle, my brother half-hidden behind my mother. She forces us all to hold hands, though I have to pry my cousin Faizan's fingers apart' he seems to have a problem with three-year-old girls. The room is damp and humid. We sit on a single large, red rug, covered with intricate designs, in the center of the room. My nano sits in her chair, trying to convince my mamo, her ever-faithful son, to give her a back rub. My cousin, Shaharyar, squishes my fingers in his until they hurt and the bones seemed to be twisting, bringing my attention back to the circle. I grit my teeth and try to squeeze back, but he is strong for a four-year-old. He laughs and loosens his grip. I scowl. I can see him playing the game with my brother, but Adel is uninterested. He is hunched forward as though he is trying to protect himself from the wind. A ploy of hers to break us from our boredom, my mother opens her mouth to explain her ingenious game'

It is the boom of the thunder and the shatter of breaking glass that makes me smile.

'a flash of lightening illuminates the sky, hanging, perfectly preserved, for just a moment. Then it disappears as quickly as it has come. A clap of thunder sounds, echoing for ages afterward' endlessly'

I cannot see what happens, but the sound of something shattering' a high pitched squeal' pieces scattering across the floor' the thunderclap rolling to an end' a scream'

I cover my ears until it is over. The monotony of days of rain has been broken by the thunder. The glass on the front of the house has shattered completely, leaving a gaping hole in the wall. We all sit quietly for a moment, the house eerily silent after the deafening thunder, staring at the windows through which the wind escapes into our home. The silence is broken by my sister: she gurgles, lets out a cry, and throws her drool-covered barbie across the floor where it lays face-down, covered in tooth marks.

'MOM!' Faizan yells

My khala rushes to us and tucks him beneath her arm, her hair falling over them like a sheet of black silk.

The wind is cold and warm at the same time. I like the feel of it. I cannot control the grin that breaks out on my small, childish face: we are no longer bored. I sigh, relieved. My brother is staring transfixed at the windows that have broken, however, as though he can hardly believe the glass has shattered under the flimsy power of the wind. His mouth hangs open, his tiny face crinkling. He moves to the side, about to lean against my mother, but she stands up and takes a broom from my mamo. He has one of his own. They begin sweeping the glass aside.

My khala takes over for my mamo a moment later. He comes and sits beside us children, folding himself on the floor and looking much too large surrounded by the munchkins. My sister sneezes. He strokes his mustache in a thoughtful way and ruffles Shaharyar's hair.

'You're a brave boy.' (He always pays more attention to the boys, I think sullenly). 'You're not scared, are you?'

'No,' my cousin squeaks.

'I'm not scared, either!' I proclaim, sitting up proudly.

My mamo laughs. I scowl again. He places his massive hand over my brother's shoulder and shakes him, much too hard.

'Are you scared?'

' Now, years later, my brother stands in the kitchen, staring out the window, his eyes glazed. For him, the storm spells fear, for me it is fun. Perhaps he remembers the same thing: the boom of thunder and the shatter of breaking glass.





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