Storm

I sit on the boat roof watching a storm come in from the south. Lightning casts shadows across midnight boats, but the air is warm and comforting so I am not afraid. My feet dangle over the edge above the dark Thames below, and I use the back of my heels to tap out the rhythm of the thunder onto the steel of the cabin side. In this manner I mark the storm’s progress, its steady march towards me. It will soon be here, and I will soon be forced to leave my vantage point. The pontoons are deserted at this late hour; it is just the storm, the river and I, or so I think. I often sense a presence in the night; eyes that follow and the soft tread of feet. The thunder and my beating drown out all other sounds but I begin to realise that you are near too. I turn my back on the thunderstorm and scan the roof of the boat moored beside me for any sign of life. It is here that I find you, sitting, watching me; a guardian against the night’s unknowns. I speak your name into the clamour from above and you leap the gap between the boats to join me. I hug you close as we turn our attention back to the approaching spectacle. The sky’s rumble is nearly constant now and the sudden gust of wind tells me it is time to prepare to move. A spear of lightning grounds somewhere beyond the houses in front of us but I wait until the first drops of rain clatter against steelwork before I give the sign. “INCOMING!” I yell, but my call is lost in the tumult as we dash for the safety of the deck below.

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