muted

I’m alone in the dark when I see the blinding flash

Did something explode

I glance out through the translucent curtains, half expecting to see a building aflame, but there is no smoke, and no fire.

I crack the window open, listening for any kind of scuffle, sirens, something to clue into the source. When I see another flash. And still another.

The chill we’ve come to expect has given way to something novel. The air is warming, and with the warmth comes moisture, and pressure.

Watch out for Moldy March

Colleagues warn.

And I realize, with another flash, that lightning storms have returned.

I welcome the breeze, sniff the night air, and crane my neck to the street two floors below at the neighbor’s dog, unfazed, unflappable, curling up for the night. Clearly the lightning is old hat, to her.

A car, crawling through the lane, slower than the usual. A window slides down and the driver is asking a question.

To whom? I wonder.

That’s when I notice the woman. She replies to the driver, reassuring him, perhaps. He drives off slowly and she glances at her phone, then up towards my window, then back again to her phone. She seems confused, asking with her eyes

Is this the place?

Our building is on a difficult block to navigate. Something to do with its location on top of old farmland, close to the temple, zoning restrictions leading to creative housing moves. 5 houses, one address. Or two addresses, one house. Google Maps isn’t going to help with this one.

Hello!

I imagine myself calling.

I think you have the wrong address! This is not the place you’re looking for, but can I help you find your way?

But words don’t come. I’m muted, flummoxed by this distance in language again. Unable to help where needed.

So I keep quiet, and hope her phone holds answers.

When I peek out a few minutes later the lightning has built into a frenzy. I know the buckets are coming.

And the lady in need is gone.

Published by Radutti

Teaching in Ha Noi, screwing things up daily but surviving to write about it. ...everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

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14 Comments

  1. “I am muted, flummoxed by this distance in language again.”
    That is some powerful writing there. For people who have been muted, literally or metaphorically, it goes right to the core. Thank you for that.

    Like

  2. Such a tight, clear piece of writing – I never fell out of the moment! Your images are so vivid and the pacing just right. I can see the lightning illuminating the night, can feel your concern.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Totally agree with Fran, such a tight piece of writing. Your economy of words is so effective, and the amount of background knowledge just perfect. I could feel your uncertainty about whether or not to speak to the woman. Just wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your images are vivid. I love how you describe place. I was intrigued wanting to find out where you lived. A great piece of writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Fran, yeah, I’m not sure exactly where that came from, but it’s sort of evolved over time. I did realize that a lot of my style is influenced by the book Any Small Goodness, which often reads like a poem. 😉

      Like

  5. You transported yourself outside and into another’s life all from your window without getting wet. Your small moment here turned a rainy night into an array of possibilities. I like the attention to sound from the thunder to you muted response.

    Liked by 1 person

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