I’m still here! Camp NaNoWriMo is coming up in a few days. Since I haven’t sat down and written for a while, I’m rusty, so this calls for a warm-up! Title is from a song that I used for inspiration.
The rain continued to fall. It was the third day in a row. The petrichor had long since disappeared, the earthy fragrance displaced by a growing odor of mildew creeping up from my baseboards. Again, that smell also began to fade as my self-inflicted solitary confinement kept me cooped up inside, so as to drive me dull and deaf to the lingeringness of it.
I glanced out the window to the dim exterior just once in happenstance as the mailman passed by, wading through the puddles in his thick transparent, ankle-length raincoat. I considered checking what had come, but convinced myself that whatever was contained there within would just get wet the second I attempted to retrieve it.
That night when that what could be inferred to be the sun sneaked out of the sky and collapsed the inky darkness upon the city, the rain stopped. I was retired to bed when the pitter-patter stopped. The pillow cover beneath my head rustled uncomfortably. I could hear my breath and the sticky undulations of my mouth and throat in my ears. The house creaked. It creaked just the same as it always did, but this time with the lack of white noise I had become accustomed to.
Then there was the voice. I rolled over, shoving one ear into the pillow while the other laid upward to the cold air. I pulled the comforter up over my shoulder. The spines of the down feathers inside pricked and clicked as they relaxed in their new positions. The voice came again, clear now in my left ear. It wasn’t the voice of the mostly absentee neighbors I had heard a few times before.
A car drove by outside. Its tires ran through a puddle, making a sound like one would make on a slide at a water park. I heard the voice again. It was familiar this time, but not one that I had heard in a long time- possibly since I had moved to this new town. I sat up and listened for it again, running my fingers through my bangs.
The sour odor of the mildew returned to my nostrils for a brief moment. I rolled to the side and placed my feet atop the carpet. It was slightly moist, or possibly just cold with a touch of humidity. The gutters outside creaked and dropped a few drops that had been hanging in low spots.
I heard my name being spoken from the voice now. It arrived from the front of my house. I crept to my door and pushed aside the curtains on the front window, before attempting to peer through the thick condensation on the panes. Through the glass was the glint of a few distant house lights across the street, not at a distance from which a voice would carry. I sighed and unlocked the door, opening it.
My front walk was still damp, but free of puddles. I picked up my keys from the table beside the door. I had suffered the fate of getting locked out too many times before remembering that the door could be opened from the inside even if locked.
My bare feet found the cold concrete just as the door shut behind me. I looked either way down the barren street to gaze upon the damp, sleepy drive dotted with flickering, milky streetlights. I listened again for the voice. I heard, instead, my keys jingling in my hands. Somehow, it was at that moment, that I decided to finally take the ten more steps to my mailbox.
The bills and junk mail were stacked three days high, layers of moisture marking each daily deposit of the tacky paper like sedimentary rock. I flipped through the enveloped and sleek ads, arriving at one of the bottom-most letters- addressed from my home town, my parent’s place.
Dear Son, it read. It was written in my mom’s implacable cursive. She always preferred to write when she could, especially since she didn’t use any sort of social media.
I couldn’t get a hold of you, it continued, but I have to tell you that your father doesn’t have much longer. Please… I hope this gets to you on time so that you may be here for him.
The rain suddenly began once again. Despite my best attempt to shield it from above, drops of water fell upon it nonetheless.