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Five and in Taipei: "Rain, Rain. Go Away"
The skies are grey, filled with smoke from the nearby factories, and from the dozens, hundreds, and thousands of motorcycles and cars that jam up the streets of Taipei. In this city, everything smells like gasoline. You’d much rather stay inside to catch a breath of fresh air than to step outside.
While you’re sitting at your desk, in your small room, on the third floor of an old apartment complex, you stare out your window, unable to concentrate. Your words stick to the inside your throat, and a humidity crawls under your skin like burrowing gnomes. You become instantly antsy, twitchy, and itchy; there’s a certain anxiety you can’t shake off. You feel almost nervous, as if there is some sort of impending doom. It’s probably the weather.
In Taipei, Taiwan, the sun may shine while Mother weeps upon her children, and the heat may be unbearable when Mother floods the whole city. Sometimes She sends lightening in the middle of the day, and other times Mother wants to fly thousands of kites when no one else wants to. She may bring spring too early or winter too late; the weather is bewildering.
Today, you think Mother will weep. She will weep for the destruction your nation has caused, for turning Her beautiful tears into acidic rain. She will shake the rooftops with her electric anger, and with guttural groans, she will show you her pain.
Even though you feel impending doom, the old fogies sit comfortably on the side of the streets and fear nothing. Every day and today, they sit on cement, and smoke pack after pack of cheap cigarettes, completely content. They’ve been around long enough to see Her worst and to see Her every miracle. Nothing ever unnerves them…
Ah, but your poor mother, she, still worries.
As the skies suddenly darken, at around three in the afternoon, your mother hastily pulls windows shut, closes open doors, and boils hot water for a calming cup of herbal tea. Sitting at your desk, you can feel Mother’s heart beginning to pound. The tapping on your roof starts, and it sounds like pebbles filling an empty can. The noises get louder and permeate your flesh, your bones, and remain in your brain. When you are fully frightened, everything reminds you of that gory and chaotic, frantic and disturbing war movie you should have never watched. Lightening strikes your soul, the flashes of brightness shut your eyes, and the roar of Mother’s emotions forces you to dive into your bed. Digging yourself a wartime trench, you create a shelter from the bombs, shells, flying mud, and the screams coming from within you. The humidity mixes with your anxiety and fear, and they choke you. You’re almost suffocating, barely breathing, and wracking with sobs.
After eternity, Mother finally calms down and remembers that She must be gentle.
Light begins to enter through your window, and you come out of you trench. The Sitzkrieg is finally over. Your surroundings are silent, and everything is oddly peaceful. As you stick your head outside your window, it seems as if nothing had happened at all. Only the puddles on the ground, the sweat sticking to your skin, and the gentle of thudding of your heart remind you of a seemingly horrific event. You will never forget this day in Taipei.
Under your covers, you had prayed, “Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day.” I suppose Mother listened. You may have been foolish to be so frightened of a mere thunderstorm, but you are not ashamed. After all, you are only five.