Aliro lay perfectly still in the dark of her bedroom. Waiting. Rain was hitting the side of the house in loud bursts and the wind made the windows bang. Gusts that found their way through the gaps blew the curtains forward and back.
She listened, every crack and creak making her skin crawl. She hated storms, especially when she was alone. There was too much noise, not enough space to think.
Finally the phone rang.
Her mother had always told her not to use the phone in storms. Even if she’d remembered why, Aliro didn’t care. She wasn’t going to miss this call for the world. “Kasavu?” she asked timidly, picking up the phone.
“Hey, Aliro,” he said, sounding tense. “How are you?”
It was a pointless question. She turned on the light to watch the ticking of the clock. “I’ve been waiting for you to call,” she replied. “It is three in the morning and I have not had any sleep.”
Kasavu apologised. “I forgot about the time difference…” You could have looked it up, thought Aliro. “You aren’t pleased to hear from me?”
“I am,” Aliro assured him. “But… I am afraid…”
There was silence on the line. “Kasavu? You are… you are coming back, aren’t you?”
This was the deciding moment, the one Aliro had managed to delay for so many months. She was terrified. “Kasavu?”
“I-I’m sorry Aliro, I know this has to be hard for you….” she slowly held the phone away from her ear and listened to his reasoning grow fainter and fainter until she gently replaced the receiver. Thunder rolled overhead and underfoot, rattling items inside the house. Abruptly the power went out and Aliro was left in the dark. She heard the old tree in the front yard crack and groan, then come crashing to the ground.
The next morning dawned bright. Aliro’s cellphone buzzed. Lethargically she checked the message. It was from a girl she talked to at school last Friday. They shared a few classes.
i noticed ur not in school where r u? wuts up?
nuthin just a tree came down in big storm last nite, Aliro texted back.