Florida people were generally used to storms. Most people had stories to tell about hurricanes or tornadoes or floods at least. there was a strange excitement in the danger. Not much bravado, just an acceptance of the perils of nature as the divinely inspired way of things. People facing storms had the opportunity to contemplate their lives, to prepare for the possibility of death — which most likely would not happen — but the exercise was a good one. It made people grateful instead of bitter. Afterwards, even if everything was ruined, you could feel good just being alive. Spared is what people would say they were. Spared mean chosen, special, with purpose. How many people could say that about themselves? It was like something to look forward to.
We played cards by candlelight late into the night. Gin. Mother mostly won. Sowell’s heart wasn’t in it. He wasn’t paying attention. Even Wade could beat him. We ate carrots and pickles and slices of white bread with preserves. The food in the refrigerator had begun to spoil. It was beginning to put off a smell.
The thunder was insistent, like door knocking that would not let up. It seemed about making us let something inside — and we didn’t want to. We refused. The early thunder was almost polite, distant and just as comfortable as hearing your name called at suppertime. But the later thunder had lost all patience, given up on convincing us and decided to threaten us, like a maniac who’d knock the door down by banging his head against it if he had to. It made me know instead that we don’t always get to decide what we let and what we keep out. A door is just an idea.
As Hot As It Was You Ought to Thank Me by Nanci Kincaid