A boy that has grown to loathe his father discovers something new about him when left alone with him during a hurricane
Rain slapped the window, angry and defiant. The tree in the backyard, still to small to climb, leaned and flailed against rising winds. Steely clouds hung low, obscuring the afternoon skies. Pale forks of lightning stabbed from the skies, chased by the echoing boom of thunder.
The boy watched all of this from the window and sighed.
Before the electricity had gone out, he remembered seeing the weatherman on the local news. He normally ignore the news, but the weatherman wore a yellow slicker and a rain hat that day, as well as an innertube, a snorkel, swim goggles, and a pair striped swim fins. The newscasters thought the weatherman was very funny. The boy thought he was just another weird adult. After all, if anyone was suppose to take a hurricane seriously, shouldn’t it be a man paid to guess the weather?
The boy’s thoughts were interrupted by a trash can that rolled beyond their back fence, moving quickly, rolling end over end and then out of sight.
That morning, excitement swept over him when the radio announced there would be no school because of the weather. They used the schools as shelters for bad storms. His mom was working at one of the schools as a nurse, in case anyone got sick or injured during the storm. His mom leaving ebbed his joy. He didn’t like the thought of being without her.
“Oh, come on you stupid thing!”
His father’s voice drifted from the dining room, followed by a soft warbling sound. He was fiddling with the radio again, trying to get updates on the storm.
The boy got up and wandered into the kitchen. He opened the refrigerator and peered around, looking for nothing. The soft chill brushed his face and arms.
“Hey pal? Bring me a cold one, willya? This radio is hot work!” Exaggerated laughter followed the witticism, and the boy rolled his eyes.
His father was hunched over the table, looming above the offending radio. A tattered football jersey hung off of him, and his pajama pants were inside-out; the inverted pockets dangled. His glasses rested on the edge of his nose. He smiled at the boy and took the beer with a wink.
“Thanks, champ,” he sighed, and took a lengthy pull from the bottle.
The boy watched his father curiously. “That stuff smells like pee,” he muttered.
His father placed the bottle on the table and laughed. “Well, thank God it doesn’t taste like it!” He smiled and winked. “You’ve been quiet as a mouse today. Everything okay?”
The boy shrugged his shoulders. His father mimicked him. The boy rolled his eyes. “I’m fine, Dad. Jeez.”
“Okay, okay, sorry I asked.” He reached out to tousle the boy’s hair. The boy slid out of the way; a twinge of disappointment spread through him as he realized how much he looked like his father.
“When’s Mom coming home?”