AND THEN SHE ASKED FOR RAIN - D.M. Williams
[The Porch presents our First Piece of Original Fiction...]
All the lights are out in here. And it feels as if the sun has gone down. But I know better. I know that beyond the heavy curtains and the foil which lines the windows there is still sunlight. Perhaps it’s so bold today, even, that its rays stretch and sparkle across the vast expanse of blue sky—and I’m sure it is probably a sight to see. I bet the clouds have gone to their sacred hiding places to allow the sun its alone time for the day. Allow it to be brilliant in solitude—with no distractions. It probably beams magnificently and unapologetically, the sun, even though it feels as though its gone down. I just know better. In this room there is a bird in a cage and he chirps every now and then. Probably because it longs for freedom…maybe because it longs to be held—petted even. But I won’t release it. And I will not touch it because I am afraid that once it realizes it is no longer caged its wings will flutter furiously, and I will be forced to let it go from fear of its frantic flapping and pecking and chirping. I suppose not having to worry about searching for its own food is consolation enough for being held in captivity.
There is a woman here too.
She is pleasant with soft skin and a very large afro. When she bends and kneels to lift me from my wheelchair I can feel its thickness and earthy texture all over the side of my face and sometimes I lean my head a little into it so that I might feel it even more against my skin and smell the coconut scent. She told me she uses coconut oil to keep it soft. And on days like today when I am lazy and just want to be left alone she goes into the kitchen and reads her Bible. Sometimes I ask her to read a verse or two out loud. Then I tell her to stop, that’s enough. Because the Bible puzzles me and I don’t understand the god in it. All that war and all that mess and all those odd sacrifices make me annoyed at him. Like he had something to prove. He doesn’t seem like the type of god who would’ve been the maker of my soul. I suppose I would’ve just done things differently. Maybe even created a world full of people like me so that they could see the world through my eyes and appreciate the delicate parts of it in ways they’re hardly capable of—since they all seem so busy and all. And I wouldn’t feel I had anything to prove because they wouldn’t have anything to prove to me.
My ass hurts. It hurts because this chair gets uncomfortable after sitting in it for so long. The woman in the other room is washing dishes now. I can hear the pots and pans clanging and the water running and she’s probably humming too like she does. I won’t bother her and call to her to help shift me in this chair. I’ll just let her be. I wonder how long people have to live in the world these days. I wonder if one day when I’m tired enough of living and listening to this bird and smelling that woman’s coconut hair that I’ll be able to call out to the god I think made me and ask him if I can go ahead and go on home. I’ve never had the courage to ask. Probably because most of the things I’ve asked for he’s given me in due time. I’ve asked for money. And I got that. Enough to make myself satisfied and take care of my home. I asked for a shiny Cadillac and got that too. Only I can’t drive it. It just sits out there in the driveway pretty and shiny and probably soaking in all that good sunshine. I asked for a bird in a cage so that I could have some company that agrees with me. I ask for rain and I get it. Usually a couple of days after my request. I can sense the clouds swelling with holy water and then the heavens give way to the rumbling of clandestine forces and then the water hits heavy and hard on the roof and the windows. And I just sit in silence listening to the echo of raindrops. Pretending to dance in the rain in my own mind.
Then I asked him to see again. Because I remember when I could. I asked my maker to open my eyes once more so that I may behold what I am missing. I always ask for my sight. But he hasn’t given it back yet. So I sit here behind my curtains and the windows with the foil and that chirping bird and the woman with the coconut hair and wait for the day I am bold enough to ask for death because I know I’ll get my wish.
D.M. Williams is an educator and community literacy advocate from Austin, Texas. Her debut book Love In, Air In is set to be released this winter.