By Muna Mir
Sadie had tried to shake the water off her head outside the doorway, but every drop she expelled simply collected once more atop her head (slinking past her cheeks) and within her shoes (creating portable puddles). The wooden floor was sodden. If mould hadn’t already been an issue, she was sure it would be soon. There were three sets of shoes by the door, two umbrellas. It seemed that by mid afternoon everyone had abandoned their lectures to watch the rain drench the streets.
She pushed the door open to her room and shed the coat she was wearing onto the floor. It was a shade darker than it was when she had put it on that morning. She had been groaning about the weather all week, but it was a gift really. If it were sunny, she would have been far more miserable. The room was dark but turning on the lights felt like submission to the cold months ahead. The changing of the clocks always caught her off guard. She always thought she had more time.
There was a stain like a rosy bruise on her bed. It made her feel numb and dizzy, and not quite there. It held her gaze like a target. The longer she focused on it, the more her stomach dropped. Although she wasn’t really looking at it at all, she was looking through it, hoping it would disappear. It looked vaguely like blood from where she stood, soaked, by the door.
The stain had appeared last week: an effect of Jude. Or to be more precise, an effect of Jude on Sadie, for she had spilled the wine. They had been sitting in Sadie’s room, not doing anything in particular. It was late afternoon, and still lovely and bright. Sunlight was decorating the walls in warm puddles. They were drinking wine and smoking out of Sadie’s window. They were always drinking wine.
Leaning her head against the windowsill she watched Jude blow smoke into the cold air and felt that awful sensation settle, as it always did, low and heavy in her chest. She turned her head to look back over the street. The cathedral bells were chiming behind her. She counted. One. Two. Three. Four.
She could hear them now, reminding her that it was four in the afternoon once again. The rain beat at her windows. She could always see things clearly in that dark space beyond her reflection. All she could see now was her faint shape and the rain. Dusk had already begun to blur her vision, but she supposed that was all there was. How quickly things had changed.
She peeled off her wet jeans, her sticky shirt, and crawled into bed. It was an awful thing to wish to go back, and to know that one could not. She would not embarrass herself and sink any further, but she wanted to. She wanted to desperately. She had always had a terrible sense of self-preservation.
She could feel the damp of her hair soaking through her pillow, but found she didn’t have the energy to dry off any further. By the time she’d made it to Kingsgate she was soaked. The river was a rush of brown, flowing over the banks, dragging trees and birds alike. She couldn’t recall when the water had gotten so high. Even standing there, watching the rain pelt the water, she could not reconcile the soft drops rolling down her cheeks with the way the river swelled. Animalistic and hungry, she could trace the different streams racing like a stampede. She hadn’t noticed the water rising so rapidly. She hadn’t noticed it at all. She supposed she had been too busy, too miserable. She’d noticed only when the banks had been drowned and she could no longer ignore the flood.
She’d stood on the bridge, looking over the river, until the smell of cologne and smoke had rinsed itself from her memory (at least for the moment). She took a deep breath in the rain-soaked air. It was fresh, and wet, and full of life.
The world was restarting, as it always did. In the dark, and wet, and cold.
Image credit: Muna MirRead more: The Flood