Thunderstorms and Rain

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story of a young man realizing that his life has changed.

Submitted: March 19, 2014

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Submitted: March 19, 2014

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It’s never too late to change

Short Fiction: ‘Thunderstorms and Rain’

- by Sebastian Schneider 
 © by Sebastian Schneider, March 17th, 2014 22:52 

It was dark outside. His eyes were dry, as if they were long open, even though he just woke up by the sound of a thunder; one as loud as a gunshot. He put himself upright, looking out of his window. Lightnings repeatedly lit up his backyard and heavy raindrops hammered against the window; some of them were able to conquer some space on his window ledge as he has forgotten to close the window before he went to sleep. He dragged himself out of the bed, not realizing that his sheets were totally disheveled. Yawning, he stood up and walked right to the window. The pitch black outside was only interrupted by the lightings; the wind was howling. He closed the window and grabbed an old, dirty shirt from the ground to soak up the invading water.

He kept watching the branches of the big walnut tree in his backyard; moving under the high pressure of the wind. Back and forth and back again. Somehow it was quite relaxing despite he was being able to see them only once every some seconds. He couldn’t go back to sleep now. The storm outside woke him up from a strange dream full of messages he wasn’t able to understand – and only fractures of the memories were still intact. One of those dreams you find funny in the first place, but the more you think about it, the worse your memories become. It was the first dream since months. Strangely enough he knew that this was a fact – He didn’t dream for a long time. When he was younger, he used to write a diary about his dreams helping him to remember every small detail. It worked. After a couple of weeks he was able to remember even the smallest or finest things of his dreams. Which color the pants were he wore, the smell of the air, the small mossy stone in one of his dreams when he went along a straight path. But now, all of those skills faded away. Probably with the age, but most definitely with his laziness.

He decided to go into his kitchen, heating up the coffee machine as he stared into the room seeking out for the clock on the other side. It was 2:03am. Way too early to stay up, but he didn’t care since he forgot which day it was. Or the date. It didn’t matter in the end. Time was irrelevant for him as he went to the window. He had a nice flat in that town. It was located on a small hill just above the city outskirts. Basically he had the best view of the city as he lived on the second to top floor. Even though he didn’t feel that way, he was luckier to have a flat like that in comparison to other people living in this city. They mostly lived in big concrete blocks where one apartment looked exactly the same as the others. He hated that.

He lived here for three years now, but there was always this strange feeling which never really vanished. Something alien, something which didn’t belong to him, or fit. After he moved here he started to feel it, that something wasn’t right. At first he thought it would just go away by itself, since he was still new and nervous about the things to come. But it took him nearly two years to figure it out why this feeling simply didn’t disappear: He felt alone, expulsed by the city which lay beneath his feet. This big unforgiving place, crowded with name- and faceless people. When he was in the city center looking for some things to buy or doing a shopping run, he always felt like a bug an in ant’s nest. They looked the same; had the same pathing and routes for walking. But he never really understood them, and never soaked up the idea to be like one of them. Starting to realize that he wasn’t able to catch up with the stream, he started missing his home, where he still was this boy everyone knew. But he ignored that feeling. Or swallowed and punched it into the back of his mind, so it just vanished. But once in a while it crawled back and darkened his thinking.  “Swimming against the tide” - That was never his motto of life.

He remembered that one day he sat in the park, talking to friends, when he suddenly realized that he wasn’t really friends with anyone. All of those people surrounding him were just strangers he used to know a bit better than that. He remembered his real friends from back home, how they used to walk around at night in the city having fun. Meeting at 8pm and staying up until 6am. How they managed to do so many bad things everyone in that small town knew their names. By heart. He couldn’t let them go. He knew that they were living all over this country now, but he couldn’t simply let them go. The memories were too strong. In the end he eventually stuck with his new “friends” because it was better to have somebody, instead of no one. At least he could mortify that alien feeling that way for quite some time.

He came back from his mind into the now. Still over-watching skyline, if you could call some taller buildings like that. But he liked this view; it was the only pretty thing he had seen for quite some time. The coffee machine was ready, so he grabbed a pot of coffee and went back to the window. The rain was stronger now; the wind blew with an unrelenting force. On the street below he could see that some empty trash cans already fell a side and were dragged along by the wind. Small garbage and leaves from last fall were with them. They danced and tried to overpower each other as they were pushed down the parking lot onto the street, where there was no car at all. Quite a scene, as normally there was always a car passing when he glimpsed at the road.

His mind was drifting away once again, back to his new friends. At that time he still considered himself “new to the city”. What he didn’t consider was that he already lived here for a year. He met so many interesting people with whom he came along with nicely and was going out a lot. But how could he not consider them friends back then? Memories. It’s all about memories. They tie your mind to people you lived a part of your life with. The longer you live with them, the more tighten the bond becomes. If you loose friends, you still have those memories filled with them. But they eventually fade over time, and when you start forgetting them you are ready to make new friends as there is now open space for new memories, new images, new sounds, new friends. Thankfully he realized this early enough. It’s strange to think about all of this now. He never considered himself a person who needs a lot of contact with other people. Well, that’s what he had thought. He felt free from now on; free to do whatever he liked.

Caring about people, hanging out with them, going to events. He should do that more often. He remembered one particular day when a mate he knew more or less from the first day in the new city invited him to a concert. His mate was able to put him on the VIP list, so even though he didn’t really want to go there, he went just because it was for free, and had probably one of the best evenings so far. Sitting together with friends, drinking beer and talking about everything. It was a great evening, and he couldn’t even remember when he was back home, but he was sure that the night already faded and the sun battled for the sky.

He came back into reality, where the storm didn’t calm down at all. The rain knocked against the window with the same force as punches. The sound being generated was amazing, and the thunder in the distant background made this scene even more spectacular now. The rain was collected and funneled onto the street by valleys and canyons of the footpath’s broken concrete. The streets were full with water, and he wondered how the sewers were able to cope with that amount of water falling down this night. They must be filled to bursting, but they still swallowed every drop of rain falling down. Drop, by drop, by drop, collected by the current and chewed by the sewers.

He heard his mobile ringing out of his room. He put the cup down on the table and walked into his room; he took his cell phone from the drawer and checked it. It was 2:38am and he received a message from his girlfriend.

“Hey, i can’t sleep thanks to that storm, wanna come over? xo”

He smiled. Yes, he had a girlfriend now. For the last three and a half years he had no deeper relationship. He had some before, but none of them really lasted long. He knew this girl for about a year now, but only in the last two months they came closer. It took him some time to open up, to get used to the feeling that he is not alone. And he liked it. After a couple of dates he just knew that she was special. When she talked, he felt that every word sounded like from an angel. She didn’t look overly beauty, but she wasn’t bad looking either. Just about right, and just his taste. She didn’t use a lot of make-up, if she used any at all. He liked her natural look, how she talked, walked, just was herself. He remembered when they were going through the park a month where they talked a lot about everything but nothing. He really missed such talk. In the end, it didn’t took long for her to notice that he liked her a lot, so they came closer and closer with every time they met. Until their latest date, and this is now one and a half week ago. They were swimming in a spa, when they finally kissed. The blood rushed into his head, his stomach turned, he felt well, for the first time since he moved here. This happy feeling when they were in the outside pool, at 10:30pm, with stars above their heads. One could say now that this was a very romantic scene, full of clichés. But it definitely fit, and he didn’t even notice that.

At first he wanted to hurry to leave, but he couldn’t. Or at least his brain wasn’t fast enough to do so. Taking his time, he grabbed his old worn-out pants, a raincoat, his keys, his mobile, an umbrella and set off. Leaving this house and going into the thunderstorm was somehow a relief. It washed away his sorrows he had since he moved here. It was the same feeling when he took a shower just after coming home from a long and exhausting day. It cleared your mind; it let you turn off your mind so you could relax. The same happened here. This heavy rain made him happy, and gave him the chance to forget.

Luckily she didn’t live far away from his home, only around seven blocks, so no need to take his car. He opened the umbrella and started to head into her direction, still smiling.

It came to his mind that he probably looked at everything the wrong way. He always thought that he was a nobody. This has changed now. He knew that he had his role in this city, this society, this life. He passed the first block.

When crossing the first street he realized that the streets were totally empty. It didn’t matter if he looked to the left or the right. Not a single car. The traffic lights were blinking in bright yellow, and were rocking heavily under pressure of the wind. He passed the second block.

The thunders were growling deeply, one after another. Somehow they didn’t terrify him at all. When he was a child he used to be scared when there was a thunderstorm. Today, he was fascinated by the force, the raw brutality but the crystal clear image of the nature. He passed the third block.

The crackling sound of the rain hitting his umbrella sounded like a firecracker which didn’t stopped cracking. He enjoyed the sound and tried to receive every single note of the sound created by the rain. He passed the fourth block.

Strangely enough he never wanted to live here. It all happened in an instant. When he grew up he always said that he didn’t want to live in a city. That they were too loud, too crowded, too busy. Then he moved here, and became the same. He passed the fifth block.

Suddenly he realized that he changed. A lot. From someone who couldn’t leave his home for longer than a week, to someone who lived now in a city, with new friends, new possibilities. Maybe that was just a matter of time? He passed the sixth block.

No, that couldn’t be true. It must have been something else which led to him changing is life, and him changing in his life. He didn’t know the answer, but in the end, that didn’t matter, because he was happy now. He passed the seventh block.

He turned left for the last time before counting the house numbers. He used the bell, but only pressed it for an instant. As he entered the hallway heading for the stairs he could hear the apartment door opening. He slowly walked up the stairs, engaging and soaking up every moment. He closed his eyes, using only his sense to feel where the next step has to be.

He was confident. Step, by step, by step. He opened his eyes, and stood in front of her. She was wearing that funny top he always made fun of as small cartoon bunnies were printed all over it. “It had taken you a long way”, she mentioned, “but finally you are here.”

Yes, he thought. Finally he was there, at the end of his old life, and the beginning of his new.

It was 2:59am.


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