Something felt different when Ironbark woke up that morning. The birds were sounding in a new day like they did every day, and still, there was something odd about them. They sounded livelier than usual. Maybe it was the oncoming storm, Ironbark thought as he looked through the opening between the curtains at the multi-coloured clouds billowing high in the sky.
“We had it coming, what, with all that abnormal humidity lately,” he mumbled as he went to sit on the edge of the bed.
At that very same moment a kookaburra burst raucously into laughter, as if it was mocking him. It gave Ironbark the clue he needed. Ah, that’s it, he said to himself. With their keen senses animals knew what was going to happen long before humans did. They must already be feeling the relief in the wake of the storm, Ironbark concluded. Still, it was strange, he thought, he had never noticed anything like this before in the 72 years he was alive.
Then he got up scratching the tuft of grey, bristly hair on his chest and went over to the window. There he stood and looked at the sky again. The storm clouds reminded him of his daughter and her fascination for the wind and the clouds. Especially storm clouds, which she referred to as Wandjina, who were the Aboriginal cloud and rain spirits. As Ironbark ambled to the bathroom he looked back on his daughter’s childhood years. They had had some great times together, he remembered as he took his shaving kit from the bathroom cabinet.
“Oh, stop being so sentimental,” he said out loud, trying to stop tears of joy from ruining the fine job he had done of lathering his face with shaving cream.
When he noticed this was not working, he turned on the near ancient transistor radio his late wife had given him on his birthday in 1976. The music brought some relief until a golden oldie started playing: “She was blinded by the light. Revved up like a deuce. Another runner in the night...” He had always wondered what the words meant, especially ‘blinded by the light’. Some people used to say they referred to someone looking at the sun during an eclipse, but he was not so sure about that. In any case, the song’s upbeat tune made him feel vibrant and optimistic, and his thoughts returned to the storm and what made it feel odd.
He looked through the bathroom window and then, as the clouds outside burst and sent billions of raindrops plummeting to the earth, it dawned on him. The rain had lifted the pressure, just as his tears had done only minutes ago. To him this was Mother Nature’s way of telling him that it was time for him to let go of the past. He needed to let go of the sadness and frustration that had flooded his heart for years and years, and forgive himself for what he felt as letting his daughter down. This new insight brought on more tears, but this time he let them flow freely. While he continued shaving, he was overcome by a huge sense of relief.
“Ah, I needed that,” he said smiling from ear to ear.
Just as he was taking in this immense feeling of joy, his mobile phone started ringing.
“Damn,” he grumbled.
Who could that be? Normally, he would never pick up the phone when he was busy and certainly not in the situation he was in, but his curiosity won him over.
“Hello,” he said inquisitively, forgetting to say his name.
“Good morning,” a voice at the other end replied, “Is this Alan MacGregor?”
“Yeah, speaking. Who wants to know?”
As Ironbark spoke, he became aware of his irritated tone of voice, but was distracted when a bolt of lightning struck a tree about a block away from his house. Again Mother Nature was speaking in metaphors, for he was thunderstruck by the answer he got on the phone. Time grinded to a halt and memories flooded his mind when he heard the man at the other end reply:
“It’s Dave, Dave Frankston.”
‘Storm’ by Radu Lazarica on Freeimages.com
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