The Storm

The dark clouds are gathering and it’s beginning to drizzle.

Mum’s got the radio on. The forecast promises stormy weather, but only from mid-morning to late afternoon; the evening sky would be mostly clear with possible light showers in some areas.

Why today? Why now?

Oh God, please stop this.

I prayed yesterday night, or did I? Oh dear, I might have fallen asleep after Mum tucked me in…

No, I’m sure I prayed that it wouldn’t rain. Why didn’t you answer Lord?

It’s the last match of the term, the one where I finally make the team. Coach said I won’t be on the bench. He said, “This is your game Nartey, let’s show those St Marks boys what we’ve got”

I’d been benched all term long. Coach hadn’t thought I was ready just yet.

And now the storm is rolling in, stealing my thunder.

The Jenner twins won’t get to see how good I’ve gotten. They’ll still make fun of me till the end of the term. I guess I’ll only have to endure three more weeks of their silly jokes and cruel name-calling.

I am sad, my insides tighten and tears come to my eyes. I blink and rest my head on the chair back to stop them from spilling out. I don’t want Mum to see.

She walks into the room.

“You look as if you need some cheering up”, she says as she touches my cheeks.

Her hands are cold. I see the wineglass of fizzy juice she’s put in front of me. She put two raspberries in it. She knows I like that because it makes me feel grown up.

I had fizzy juice with raspberries at Chantelle’s wedding, while the grown-ups had champagne with raspberries.

I miss Chantelle.

“Don’t worry darling, remember the sun is always shining behind the clouds.”

Why does she have to say that?

The sun isn’t shining.

If it was, I’d be on my way to the game; Coach wouldn’t have called Mum to tell her it was cancelled; I wouldn’t be dreading school on Monday.

I miss Chantelle; she always knows how to make me feel better, even when I don’t want to.

Once, she tickled me till I couldn’t stop laughing.

But she’s probably on her way to Madagascar now…no, Mo…Mosa….Mogadishu! That’s it. To work with a children’s hospital there; she’ll be gone for 6 months. And I didn’t even get to say goodbye.

More tears come.

I won’t let them fall. I’m a big boy.

I hear a car horn, then Mum’s footsteps on the stairs.

She goes to the front door and lets someone in. I don’t want anyone to see me, so I get up to run upstairs.

“Not so fast buddy!”

Chantelle!!!

She’s laughing her goofy laugh.

I spin around. “What are you doing here…I thought…did you…?”

“Too many questions! Come and give your cousin a hug”

“I’ve missed you!” I say through tears and giggles as she tickles me

“I’ve missed you too buddy, I couldn’t travel without coming to say goodbye”

This is the bestest thing ever! Maybe the sun is shining after all.

“I thought you’d gone already!”

“She leaves tonight”, Mum says, grinning in the doorway.

“Your Mum and I planned to surprise you. We kept hoping your match wouldn’t hold. If it had, I wouldn’t have been able to stop by St Marks, too out-of-the-way.”

“Really?!”

“Yep. I prayed when I saw the weather forecast”

“Oh, what did you pray?”

“That God would send the storm”

The tears come again. I let them fall this time.

Storm

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