Marbles

A beautiful day
Piercing sunlight, so warm
We stood on the cliff of Lighthouse Beach
On the rails, overlooking the sea
There was an old rock fisherman down below
At first guess, 70 years old
It would have taken half an hour to climb down to where he was
So we stayed where we were

The clouds were amazing
They were brewing
The light was shifting from day to evening
Quicker than we thought
We alternated between who was taking photos of the other three
Document our presence because this was a beautiful day and it was over
We knew from the green tinge in the sky

The cool wind hit our eyeballs
That’s the best way I can describe it
You know it’s cold when your eyes feel the chill
Even hidden behind their protective jackets
The clouds had grown
“It’s going to rain.” I say
Rather than those wise native Americans sensing changing winds in repeats of MacGyver, pan flutes in the background
I relate this more to those old women sitting on verandas
“My knee’s acting up”, one says, “Yep” says her husband, “Your knee never lies,”
And they know, a storm’s a-comin’.
They announce it to noone in particular
They can feel the storm in their goitres

So, “It’s going to rain” I say, and we laugh
Not a chance, it was the most beautiful day, and it was evening
But looking out to sea, the horizon was blurry
I waved my fingers in front of my face
As the blur took over my sight
Convinced I was having a stroke
I couldn’t focus on the water down below
And we realised it wasn’t evening that had hit
The clouds had just turned black
The green sky had been swallowed up
Like shoving a wad of fairy floss in your mouth
Completely dissolved
I blinked and suddenly we were all wet
I was not having a stroke
A wall of water sprinting towards us
And being pulled down on our heads

Our car is only 10 metres away
But we’ve already been hit with hail
We trip on the marbles on the floor, all four of us flailing on the ground
Pathetic turtles
Doomed
Enjoying the confusion and tragedy
Screaming with laughter and pain
We can’t see past the windscreen
Twenty minutes we’re in the car
With cracked windscreens and now only one side mirror
When there were no more rattling rocks on the ceiling
Like waiting for popcorn in the microwave
It took half an hour to drive two blocks
Because we couldn’t see an inch past the rain

We bought clothes and shoes from K-Mart
We’re drenched, happy, wonderful
A freak storm, and we were in the middle of it
The biggest on record
Amazing, we four friends are fine because we had each other
And a car
Then we remember the rock fisherman
And wonder if anyone else does

– Scott Sandwich

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